In a Week 5 divisional matchup, the Cincinnati Bengals (1-3-1) went to Maryland riding high after a comfortable victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Unfortunately for them, the Baltimore Ravens (4-1) are not the Jaguars.
What Went Down
Cincinnati managed just 205 yards of total offense against Baltimore, who had nearly that amount via the rush alone (171 yards) as the home team sank the Bengals 27-3. The Ravens forced three turnovers and held the visitors to an 18 percent conversion rate on third down, en route to winning their second-straight game.
The Bengals got another interception from rookie linebacker Logan Wilson but missed out on three chances for more that could have changed the landscape of the affair. Joe Mixon was held to two-and-a-half yards per carry while accounting for just 59 yards on the ground. Most of that total came on their final drive of the game. Cincinnati inexplicably opted for a field goal on the drive, avoiding a shutout. It was a strange decision to fans, who wanted to see something positive from Joe Burrow, who finished his toughest game as a rookie while passing for just 183 yards.
Lamar Jackson only passed for 180 yards himself but connected for two touchdown passes in the contest, one each to Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews. After missing multiple practices with injury, the reigning MVP was decidedly reserved, only rushing twice. Mark Ingram picked up the slack with 11 carries for 57 yards (a 5.2 average), and Baltimore got a huge 42-yard run from rookie Devin Duvernay on a sweep. Gus Edwards got into the act with seven carries and J.K. Dobbins had a 34-yard run. On the other side of the ball, the Ravens logged seven sacks and nine tackles that went for a loss.
The work-in-progress Bengals are still suffering on the offensive line. The flavor of the week at right guard was Alex Redmond, who was beaten badly and had two costly penalties in the game that negated big plays. Regardless of the line’s play, Burrow will need to be more willing to get the ball out more quickly or throw it away rather than risk the sack. It is an understandable learning curve for a rookie.
Cincinnati’s biggest offseason acquisition in defensive tackle D.J. Reader was carted off with a quad injury/ It will end his season, which is an enormous blow. Defensive end Sam Hubbard left with an elbow injury and Bengals fans hope that keeping him out was merely precautionary, as the game was out of reach. In a tale as old as time, A.J. Green left the game with an injury (hamstring) as well, but had not done much prior and at one point was caught on camera when he appeared to say “If you’re not gonna use me, trade me.”
For the Ravens, Jackson was reserved in the pocket and the offense looked less explosive, in part due to Cincinnati’s solid defensive game plan. Once they wore down the defense and kept them on the field, the Ravens clicked well on offense. They cruised with a nice lead while surviving the Bengals’ inability to capitalize on poor passes. The MVP was dealing with injury entering the game which would explain some of the iffy play. Like any true captain, however, he had plenty left to lead the team to victory.
The Ravens escaped mostly unscathed injury-wise, save what is likely a season-ending injury to inside linebacker Otaro Alaka. Alaka is third on the depth chart at the position but is a special teams contributor.
The two franchises will meet again for their final game of the regular season on Sunday, Jan. 3.
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