In a riveting AFC showdown at M&T Bank Stadium, the Baltimore Ravens emerged victorious against the Cincinnati Bengals with a score of 34-20. However, the true story unfolded beyond the final score, marked by Pro Bowl quarterback Joe Burrow’s sidelined presence due to an injured throwing wrist and top cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt nursing a quad injury.
Injury Toll Takes Center Stage
Head coach Zac Taylor disclosed Burrow’s ailment as a sprained wrist, sustained during the game, where he fell on it at some point. The Ravens, too, faced setbacks, losing Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews to an early ankle injury, and quarterback Lamar Jackson requiring extensive ankle taping after a tackle by Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson.
Despite these challenges, the Bengals bore the brunt in both standings and injuries, severely impacting their quest for a third consecutive AFC North title. Burrow’s absence after a touchdown pass to Joe Mixon left the Bengals trailing, and the Ravens capitalized with a 20-3 surge on four consecutive drives.
Quarterback Shuffle and Defensive Struggles
Burrow’s backup, Jake Browning, entered the fray with just over two minutes left in the first half. However, the Bengals failed to generate a first down, leading to a rapid 80-yard touchdown drive by the Ravens. The Bengals’ defensive struggles persisted from their previous game, with Jackson exploiting the secondary, completing seven passes of at least 20 yards.
The Ravens’ formidable pass rush, amassing five sacks, proved equally challenging for both Burrow and Browning. Despite a valiant effort from Browning, highlighted by a late touchdown pass to Ja’Marr Chase, the Bengals found themselves at a halftime deficit of 21-10.
Bengals’ Offensive Struggles and McPherson’s Kicking Prowess
The Bengals, plagued by offensive challenges, failed to score a touchdown on their first possession for the sixth consecutive game. Evan McPherson, however, showcased his kicking prowess with a 50-yarder, narrowing the Ravens’ lead to 7-3. The kicker’s attempt at a 53-yarder shortly after narrowly missed the mark.
Defensively, Trey Hendrickson’s unexpected presence delivered a stellar performance, sacking the Ravens’ quarterback and contributing to two subsequent three-and-outs.
Unraveling Events and Bengals’ Desperate Timeout
As the game progressed, Burrow’s exit due to an inability to grip the ball proved a turning point. The Bengals, grappling with pass-interference penalties and injuries, struggled to regain momentum. Taylor-Britt’s injury, coupled with Burrow’s absence, compounded their challenges, leading to a 21-10 halftime deficit.
In the second half, the Bengals’ offensive woes continued, marked by a timeout called by Burrow due to miscommunication with rookie wide receiver Shed Jackson. Defensive disruptions and a sack by Jadeveon Clowney on the subsequent series further underscored the Bengals’ struggles.
In summary, the Bengals faced a daunting AFC showdown against the Ravens, marked by injuries, defensive challenges, and offensive struggles. Burrow’s absence and the Bengals’ inability to recover shifted the balance in favor of the Ravens, highlighting the unpredictable nature of NFL games.
Q1: How did Joe Burrow injure his throwing wrist?
A: Burrow sustained a sprained wrist during the game, possibly from a fall.
Q2: Did the Ravens face significant setbacks as well?
A: Yes, the Ravens lost Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews and had quarterback Lamar Jackson dealing with an ankle injury.
Q3: How did the Bengals cope with Burrow’s absence?
A: Jake Browning, Burrow’s backup, entered the game but faced challenges, leading to a halftime deficit for the Bengals.
Q4: How did Evan McPherson contribute to the Bengals’ score?
A: McPherson showcased his kicking prowess with a 50-yarder, narrowing the Ravens’ lead to 7-3.
Q5: What were the key defensive highlights for the Bengals?
A: Despite challenges, Trey Hendrickson delivered a stellar performance with a sack and contributed to two three-and-outs.