The Baltimore Ravens defense arguably put up the best performance by any team in the NFL this season, allowing just a field goal to an overmatched Cincinnati Bengals team in a 27-3 victory Sunday. Baltimore shut down Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati offense, holding the Bengals to just 205 yards on the afternoon while forcing three turnovers and completely dominating the line of scrimmage in the win.
Burrow faced relentless pressure from the Baltimore front seven, getting sacked seven times in the game and hit 15 times. Baltimore held Cincinnati to 3 of 16 on third down and forced three fumbles, the highlight being a Patrick Queen recovery for a score that put the game out of reach for a Bengals offense that couldn't get anything going on the offensive side of the ball. Burrow finished just 19 of 30 for 183 yards and an interception, the first game of his career he failed to record a touchdown.
The Cincinnati defense showed up to play after allowing 17 points on the first three possessions, only giving three points to the Baltimore offense the rest of the afternoon. Lamar Jackson threw two touchdown passes but faced pressure himself throughout the afternoon as he was held to just three yards rushing -- the first time he was held to under 45 yards rushing in 18 contests. Jackson was just 19 of 37 for 180 yards with two touchdowns and an interception as Baltimore was held to just 333 yards of offense. The reigning MVP did enter the game on a short week of practice due to a knee injury and illness but was healthy enough ton play all four quarters in this one.
Mark Andrews had his way against the Bengals defense, catching six of Jackson's 16 completions in the first half. Jackson threw a season-high 29 passes in the opening half of play, the most attempts he's had in any game this season. Andrews finished with six catches for 56 yards and a touchdown, and he's now scored 15 touchdowns since the start of the 2019 season, which is the most in the NFL.
Stay tuned for takeaways from this one, but for a recap of this game visit our live blog below.
Why The Ravens Won
The Ravens defense put out the best performance in the NFL this season, giving Joe Burrow a rude awakening that the NFL wasn't as easy as he's made it out to be through the first four games of his career. Burrow had his three-game streak of throwing for 300+ yards snapped, as the Ravens sacked him seven times and held him to 3.6 yards per attempt. Baltimore forced three turnovers and didn't allow Cincinnati to gain over 40 yards on a drive until the final possession. They even had a stretch where Cincinnati was held to 26 plays for 22 yards, 0.8 yards per play! Dominant is the only word to describe the performance.
Why The Bengals Lost
The Bengals offensive line has been getting Joe Burrow hit all year and Sunday's loss was no different. Baltimore had 15 quarterback hits on Burrow, who faced relentless pressure throughout the afternoon as he struggled to move the ball downfield. Didn't help the run game was nonexistent as Cincinnati averaged just 2.5 yards per attempt on 28 carries. Joe Mixon was held to just 24 carries for 59 yards as the Bengals couldn't develop a balanced attack to counter Baltimore's aggressive defense. Three turnovers didn't help either.
Cincinnati played with nothing to lose early in this one and the aggressiveness took them out of the game early. Joe Burrow struggled to move the ball downfield early in the game and forced the issue with a deep pass over the middle intended for A.J. Green that was intercepted by Marcus Peters, who returned the ball to the Bengals 31. Baltimore scored three plays later to build its lead to 17-0, which felt like a five touchdown deficit the way Cincinnati was moving the ball. Peters has 29 interceptions since the start of the 2015 season -- the most in the NFL.
Play Of The Game
Marlon Humphrey was one of the most underrated players in the NFL for years but has finally earned the respect as one of the best. Midway through the fourth quarter, Humphrey sealed the Ravens' dominant defensive performance with a forced fumble on Mike Thomas as Patrick Queen returned the ball 53 yards for the touchdown to put Baltimore up 27-0. Queen finished with a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries on the day.
"We were talking on the sideline. If you see Marlon, why do you still run the ball? Just get down man. It makes no sense." -- Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen on receivers and running backs approaching Marlon Humphrey, who Lamar Jackson also called the defensive MVP after another standout performance.
The Ravens (4-1) travel to Lincoln Financial Field to face the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday while the Bengals (1-3-1) travel to Lucas Oil Stadium to face the Indianapolis Colts in Week 6.