Ravens vs. Bengals score, takeaways: Lamar Jackson and Co. sink division rivals as Joe Burrow tweaks calf
Burrow's injury added to the team's rocky 0-2 start
CINCINNATI -- It's Groundhog Day in Cincinnati. For a second straight season, the Bengals dropped their first two games after losing a 27-24 decision to the Ravens on Sunday. Adding insult to injury was Joe Burrow telling reporters after the game that he tweaked his injured calf that sidelined him for a month during training camp. Burrow said that he doesn't know how the injury will impact him moving forward.
The visiting Ravens never trailed and controlled the pace of play for most of the day. Per usual, the Ravens received a big day from Lamar Jackson, who threw two touchdowns while also rushing for 54 yards on 12 carries. Jackson's biggest plays were a 52-yard bomb to rookie Zay Flowers and his 17-yard touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor. The touchdown pass to Aghlolor occurred moments after the Bengals scored their first offensive touchdown on the year on a Burrow pass to Tee Higgins.
Cincinnati's best chance to take the lead was thwarted by Geno Smith's pick near the end zone early in the third quarter. The pick set up Jackson's touchdown pass to Mark Andrews that made it a 10-point game. The Bengals tried, but could not make up the deficit. Cincinnati's hopes of a comeback ultimately faded when Jackson gained 12 yards on a pivotal third down just before the two-minute warning.
In a first half dominated by defense, the Ravens took a 13-10 halftime lead on Justin Tucker's 40-yard field goal on the final play before intermission. Gus Edwards capped off the game's opening drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. The Bengals' only score of the half was rookie Charlie Jones' 81-yard punt return for a score.
Here's a closer look at what transpired in the Queen City.
Why the Ravens won
The Ravens set the tone on the game's opening drive when they took nearly eight minutes off the clock. From there, John Harbaugh's team played complementary football while taking advantage of the Bengals' miscues. On offense, the Ravens employed a well-balanced attack that put Jackson in mostly manageable third-down situations. On defense, Baltimore largely kept Cincinnati's offense off schedule while often putting Joe Burrow in less than desirable situations.
Why the Bengals lost
Cincinnati's offense is still finding its way after Burrow missed a month of training camp with his calf injury. The Bengals' early-season issues on offense were somewhat expected, but what has been a surprise has been Ja'Marr Chase's lack of involvement. Chase, who caught just five passes for 31 yards, was unable to come down with a potential touchdown catch in the first half that led to the Bengals settling for a short field goal.
The Bengals defense has been OK this season, especially when you consider the poor spots their offense has put them in. But the unit has struggled against the run and the rebuilt secondary has given up too many big plays.
Cincinnati started the second half with a promising drive that was ended by Stone's pick near the end zone on a pass intended for Higgins. Jackson immediately capitalized on the pick when he hit Flowers on the big completion. The big play set up Andrews' short touchdown catch that stretched Baltimore's lead to 10 points.
Play of the game
Flowers' catch confirmed everything we heard this summer about the rookie first-round pick possibly ascending as Jackson's go-to target. Flowers' play helped the Ravens overcome the loss of Odell Beckham Jr., who left the game with an ankle injury early in the second half.
"We moved the ball well the whole game. First half, we had three possessions. We had a holding call that took us back. ... We had a third down and didn't convert and we scored points on the other one.
"Second half, looking back, we moved it really well. Came down to the turnover in the red zone. When you're playing that team, you can't have that mistake because they're going to run it well, they're going to keep it away from you, they're going to score points. Lamar's a great player; he's going to make plays, so you've got take advantage of all your red zone opportunities. That was my mistake." -- Burrow on the Bengals' offense and Smith's pivotal pick
The Ravens will head home to face the Indianapolis Colts, who evened their record after defeating the Texans on Sunday. Cincinnati will get an extra day to prepare for their upcoming Monday night game against the Rams in a rematch of Super Bowl LVI. The Bengals will honor 2023 Ring of Honor inductees Boomer Esiason and Chad Johnson during the game
That's game. Edwards plows ahead and the Ravens are on their way to 2-0. Bengals about to be 0-2 for a second straight year.
Burrow wanted to say on the field, but the Bengals elect to punt with 10 minutes left. Don't think they'll have enough time now to put together two scoring drives.
Nick Scott being evaluated for a concussion. He's questionable to return.
Beautiful TD pass from Jackson to Agholor. Over the shoulder grab that gives Jackson two touchdown passes today. Even without Beckham, the Ravens had a wealth of weapons for Jackson this season.
Best Bets For Week 13: Top ATS Wager
Best Bets For Week 13: Top Moneyline Sprinkle
Best Bets For Week 13: Top Wager On A Total
Best Bets For Week 13: Top Parlay
Coach vs. Brinson: Chiefs at Packers
Coach vs. Brinson: 49ers at Eagles
Coach vs. Brinson: Browns at Rams
Coach vs. Brinson: Colts at Titans
Coach vs. Brinson: Broncos at Texans
Coach vs. Brinson: Seahawks at Cowboys
Thursday Night Football X-Factor
Thursday Night Football: Seahawks at Cowboys
Cowboys Sit At 8-3, Perfect 5-0 At Home
Seahawks Chances Without Ken Walker III
Jets Opening 21-Day Practice Window For Aaron Rodgers
Week 13 NFL Picks: Colts at Titans
Week 13 NFL Picks: Seahawks at Cowboys
Week 13 NFL Picks: Chiefs at Packers
Week 13 NFL Picks: Bengals at Jaguars
Jets Open Aaron Rodgers Practice Window