The Cincinnati Bengals had a great opportunity to topple an injured Baltimore Ravens team, and they didn’t disappoint. Cincinnati’s offense played a complete game after weeks of unevenness. Complementary football is nice, but throwing the damn ball all over the field is a lot more fun.
Twitter sure had a blast watching it all go down, but not before Bengals fans got scared by Josh Johnson’s surprisingly efficient start to the game.
The Bengals are really good at making subpar quarterbacks look like HOFers— Kelsey Conway (@KelseyLConway) December 26, 2021
Take away the slants and short stuff and make Johnson throw downfield. That’s what we learned from the Mike White game…— Blake Jewell (@BlakeJewellNFL) December 26, 2021
just guard the slants— Seth Reese † (@SethR94) December 26, 2021
The first drive is scripted. Relax. https://t.co/KRWlgbuVRU— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) December 26, 2021
Johnson already looks like Brady vs this defense— Josh Grear (@TommyBoy2883) December 26, 2021
Josh Johnson showing clinical accuracy and management in the short/quick passing game. Ravens feasting on slants that entire drive.— Jake Liscow (@JakeLiscow) December 26, 2021
Until they stop it, that'll probably be the plan for Baltimore.
Lou Anarumo should not be having that sort of start against this QB.— Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) December 26, 2021
Offensively, everything was clicking in the first half. The Bengals’ trio of stud receivers all had their moments to shine.
Ja’Marr Chase eclipsed A.J. Green’s record for most receiving yards by a rookie in team history. He did so by making some signature plays we’re all so accustomed to witnessing by now.
What a catch by Chase! That is a big boy catch.— Patrick Judis (@PatrickJudis) December 26, 2021
Ja’Marr man lol— Teth-Adam (@DCRezz) December 26, 2021
As soon as Chase catches the ball it feels like it could go all the way every time.— DarthNoobSaibot (@DarthNoobSaibot) December 26, 2021
My God. Chase makes it look so easy.— Patrick Judis (@PatrickJudis) December 26, 2021
Chase was MOVIN’ across the field my goodness— Cagen Cantrell (@CeeingTheDraft) December 26, 2021
Yep. As they should've been doing all along. https://t.co/TRN9V9EYlN— Andrew Russell (@PFF_AndrewR) December 26, 2021
Chase drawing back to back holding penalties in the endzone Lordy— Trill Withers (@TylerIAm) December 26, 2021
Tyler Boyd only had one first-half target, and he took advantage by taking it 68 yards to the house for the team’s second touchdown of the game.
1st 3rd of the season = Ja’marr Chase— Luke Null (@Luke_Null) December 26, 2021
2nd 3rd of the season = Tee Higgins
Final stretch = Tyler Boyd
I love that Boyd just had to run straight for 50 yards https://t.co/NNIdzWcWmw— Steve Maurer (@_MaurerPower) December 26, 2021
This passing game is exactly as many had envisioned.— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) December 26, 2021
Chase, Higgins, and Boyd are all on their A Game.
TYLER BOYD TELL EM!— Patrick Judis (@PatrickJudis) December 26, 2021
But the king of the triumvirate was Tee Higgins, who capped off a 129-yard half with a touchdown that was set up by an incredible catch over two Ravens’ defenders.
Tee Higgins is so disrespectful pic.twitter.com/MFdbTF3H3P— Heat Season (@HeatSeason) December 26, 2021
CATCH OF THE YEAR— zak (@ZakKondratenko) December 26, 2021
That’s AJ shit man I could cry— Nyck Grayson (@Nycholas__) December 26, 2021
The @Bengals, Joe Burrow & those WR’s are having a BIG DAY again vs the Ravens— Harry Douglas (@HDouglas83) December 26, 2021
Put 50 on them— Lindsay Patterson (@LndsPatterson) December 26, 2021
Just when you thought AJ Green was out of Cincinnati, Tee Higgins arrives to pick up where he left off https://t.co/C753HlpWH9— (@CloudOfRaine) December 26, 2021
Making all these throws was Joe Burrow, who had a career first half with three scores and just three incompletions. He was one yard shy of 300, but the 299 he did put up is still a high for any QB this season.
Joe Burrow is having an incredible game. Using the entire field and spreading the ball around. Using all of his weapons— WolfKaoSaun (@wolfkaosaun) December 26, 2021
Elias: Burrow first QB with 299 yards in a half since Brady last year and first Bengal since Carson Palmer in 2010— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) December 26, 2021
Joe Burrow in his 2nd season is already the best QB in the AFC North. Yes he’s better than Lamar— Joel Moran (@joelvmoran) December 26, 2021
So this is what Joe Burrow looks like with a pocket?— Jom (@Jom112) December 26, 2021
(And facing a JV secondary)
The pocket presence and awareness of bodies around him we're seeing from Burrow today is exactly what we saw during his record-setting season at LSU in 2019.— Andrew Russell (@PFF_AndrewR) December 26, 2021
Joe Burrow is fully back, for anyone that wasn’t sure— Taylor (@_TaylorCornell) December 26, 2021
LSU burrow is now cincinnati burrow. The transition is complete.— John Sheeran (@John__Sheeran) December 26, 2021
The play is never over with Burrow— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) December 26, 2021
The offensive explosion continued for the remainder of the game as the Bengals kept the Ravens at bay, despite Johnson having a solid day overall. Burrow finished with a franchise record 525 yards and four touchdowns on 37-46 passing. It looked like the 2019 version of the quarterback was dropped into this game as Burrow picked apart a depleted secondary and extended so many plays outside of the pocket.
New Burrow stat line just dropped pic.twitter.com/9eh71zKkcf— Carter Donnick (@CDonnick3) December 26, 2021
Burrow could’ve been pulled from the game before he eclipsed 500 yards, but it seemed like he wanted to run up the box score against Wink Martindale’s overmatched defense. Martindale told reporters he’s not ready to give Joe Burrow a gold Hall of Fame jacket just yet, and like Michael Jordan, Burrow seemed to take that personally.
Burrow took everything personally— Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) December 26, 2021
And, correct me if I'm wrong, but did Joe Burrow just do the Jordan shrug after that 52-yard throw to Mixon?— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) December 26, 2021
Bengals have a winning season for the first time since 2015. It’s been a while, soak it in!— Nicole Zembrodt (@NicoleZembrodt) December 26, 2021
Zac Taylor and Joe Burrow out here to make a point.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) December 26, 2021
Burrow scrambling and hits Mixon on a deep bomb up 20 with less than two minutes left. It puts him over 500 yards and sets a new Bengals record.
Wow. This is not subtle.
The Bengals move to 9-6 on the season in style in front of over 63,000 fans and many more at home. It’s weeks like this that you remember for a while.