What a complete win over the Baltimore Ravens.
Yes, Baltimore was missing a number of key contributors, but the Cincinnati Bengals sliced and diced their AFC North rivals for a decisive win.
Here are the best and worst performances on the afternoon:
On. A. Mission. The franchise quarterback picked apart the beleaguered Baltimore defense, hitting a number of receivers throughout the contest.
So much so, that Burrow had the most passing yards by any NFL quarterback in the first half this season with 299 and had as many incompletions as touchdowns (three). Burrow finished with 525 passing yards (a Bengals franchise record), four touchdowns and zero turnovers.
In two games against Baltimore this year, Burrow threw for nearly 1,000 yards and seven total touchdowns. But, yeah, he totally doesn’t deserve recognition for a Pro Bowl, Comeback Player of the Year, or MVP, right?
No. 85 was the biggest weapon on Sunday, eclipsing the 100-yard mark and getting in the end zone before the halftime gun. His high-point catch on a third-and-long right before halftime was the biggest of many knockout blows given by the second-year wideout.
No. 28 was showing off multiple sets of skills on Sunday, carving up the Ravens on the ground and through the air. He scored a touchdown each way in the first half alone, and he made some other timely plays at the end of the game—namely a 58-yard diving catch to put the game on ice.
Higgins was the star of the receiving crew, but Boyd had a huge play in the second quarter. Running a beauty of an out-and-up route, Burrow hit Boyd in stride for a gigantic 68-yard score. He finished just shy of 100 yards receiving, which would have completed the receiver performance trifecta.
He didn’t have the trademark big touchdown, but he chipped away methodically at the Ravens’ defense all day. Chase had his first 100-yard day for the first time since the last game against Baltimore, finishing with 125 on seven catches.
The rookie kicker continued to come up huge for the Bengals. Whether it was hitting a big opening drive kick, another crucial one late in the third quarter and four extra points in between, he was a big weapon yet again on Sunday. He had a miss from 50 yards, but overall a quality day.
What a relaxing day from the lefty. He didn’t have to get off of the bench once, as Cincinnati scored on its first seven possessions and had an opportunity to make it eight in a row before the McPherson miss and the subsequent downing of the ball to end the game.
The free agent edge defender continues to be a massive pickup for the Cincinnati defense. He extended his sack streak to 11 straight games, while also adding another tackle-for-loss on a Josh Johnson run and a forced fumble (recovered by Johnson).
While the Ravens had three sacks of Burrow and the line had a couple of penalties, it was a respectable day from the offensive line. They gave Burrow ample time for his record-setting day, while also carving out early lanes for Mixon in the run game.
With so much going on this week for both teams, it would have been hard for the Bengals to lose focus, or fold up the tents with a coupe of last-minute roster vacancies. Instead, Taylor’s Bengals stayed the course, and he implemented an aggressive game plan to take it to Baltimore.
There were opportunities for the Bengals to get conservative with what looked like a solid lead, but Taylor and Burrow wanted to keep going for the throat. It largely paid off late, to the tune of their last three drives netting a touchdown, a missed field goal attempt and a kneel-down for the win.
A myriad of players charged with guarding Mark Andrews:
A combination of Germaine Pratt, Vonn Bell and Jessie Bates all had a rough time guarding the Pro Bowl tight end, among others. With Devin Duvernay out and a quarterback recently brought in via free agency in Josh Johnson, it was pretty obvious Andrews was going to be the focal point in the Baltimore offensive game plan. Despite however obvious, the Bengals had zero answers for No. 89. And Travis Kelce is on deck next week if he clears COVID-19 protocols.