The Cincinnati Bengals’ first Sunday Night Football appearance in four years came down to the wire in the Charm City. Cincinnati lost 19-17 to the Baltimore Ravens at the final seconds.
Unlike the previous two weeks, the Bengals’ first score didn’t come on the first drive. Their lone first down of the first quarter came on the first play, a quick screen to Ja’Marr Chase. Cincinnati made it an emphasis to get the ball in Chase’s hands fast and early, but the Ravens managed to keep the Bengals’ star receiver in front of them. Chase finished the game with 50 receiving yards on 12 targets.
Baltimore got out to a 10-0 lead after the first 15 minutes thanks to a Mark Andrews touchdown against a blown Bengals coverage. The night looked pretty bleak until Vonn Bell sparked some life by intercepting an overthrown pass from Lamar Jackson in the second quarter.
Vonn Bell interception! #RuleTheJungle— TWSN (@TWSN___) October 10, 2022
It was Bell’s third interception in his last two games, as he now has more interceptions in the last 11 days than he had in his first six years.
The interception seemingly rejuvenated the Bengals’ offense on the ensuing drive. Joe Mixon found ample space to run out of shotgun, scampering for 33 yards on four carries throughout the possession. Mike Thomas, playing for an injured Tee Higgins, took a hitch route for 33 yards, which helped set up former Raven tight end Hayden Hurst’s second touchdown on the year to make it a 10-7 ball game.
HAYDEN HURST REVENGE GAME pic.twitter.com/fqeyIfXInp— PFF CIN Bengals (@PFF_Bengals) October 10, 2022
Hurst finished with six catches for 53 yards and the score in his first game back in Baltimore since he was traded away in 2020.
Baltimore found success in the ground game early in the game, but Cincinnati’s front seven was doing well containing Jackson and his legs. A Germaine Pratt sack helped get the Ravens off the field right at the two-minute warning, and the Bengals managed to get into field goal range despite temporarily losing Jonah Williams to a knee injury. Evan McPherson made the first of field goals to tie it up at 10 at the half.
Both offenses came out of the gate flat in the third quarter. Jackson missed two potential touchdowns down the field, one being on fourth down, and Joe Burrow straight up missed former LSU teammate Patrick Queen over the middle and threw his fifth interception of the season. Justin Tucker boomed a 58-yard field goal following the turnover to give the Ravens the lead 13-10.
Cincinnati proceeded to execute the second-longest drive of the season that resulted in a turnover on downs. With the help of a couple pass interference flags, the Bengals got the ball down to the two-yard line and failed to cross the goal-line after a failed Philly special and shovel pass. Not once did they try to run the ball with Mixon, despite the overall success he was enjoying up to that point.
Mixon did get the ball after the Bengals’ defense held Baltimore to three points and continued running the hardest he’s ran this year. Clutch third-down conversions from Tyler Boyd and Chase got the Bengals inside the Ravens’ five-yard line, and a sneak from Burrow tied the game at 16 a piece. McPherson’s extra point counted despite going over the right upright to give Cincinnati a 17-16 lead.
The Ravens had a two-minute drill to get Tucker into field goal range, and they did just that. Tucker drilled the 43-yard game-winning field goal as the clock expired to give the Bengals their third loss of the season—all by field goals.
The Bengals will travel down to New Orleans next week to face the Saints and try to get back to .500.