By Demetrius DillardSpecial to the AFRO
The Baltimore Ravens’ defensive unit registered seven sacks, forced three turnovers and gave up no touchdowns en route to a 27-3 home win against AFC North foe Cincinnati Bengals on Oct. 11.
Offensively, the Ravens felt they somewhat underperformed, particularly in the second half, but fortunately did more than enough to put the game out of reach and come away with the victory.
Lamar Jackson, who dealt with a minor knee injury for some of last week, was 19-of-27 passing for 180 yards and two touchdowns while Marquise Brown and Mark Anderws combined for 12 receptions, 133 yards and two receiving touchdowns.
“The defense played lights out throughout the whole game, and that was fun to watch. But, all three phases did what they had to do to win. We’re proud of that,” said Coach John Harbaugh, who also acknowledged the defensive backs for totaling five of Baltimore’s seven sacks.
“I guarantee our guys aren’t satisfied. There are plenty of things that we can look at and do better, coaching and playing. We’ll do that, but I’m proud of them for the win.”
Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow had to deal with Baltimore’s vicious pass rush all throughout the game as he was sacked seven times. He threw an interception toward the end of the first to Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters, who returned the ball to the Cincinnati 31-yard line to set up another Baltimore touchdown.
On the opening snap of the second, Brown received a two-yard touchdown pass from Jackson, inflating Baltimore’s lead to 17-0. Baltimore racked up 161 yards on the ground while holding its opponent to only 70 rushing yards.
Just as the Bengals began to work their way into Baltimore territory on the next series, linebacker Patrick Queen came up with a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery at the 50.
The rookie defensive standout had another phenomenal day, finishing with nine tackles, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries, one of which was returned 53 yards for a touchdown – to lead the way for Baltimore’s staggering defense.
There wasn’t much offensive action to open the second half as both teams traded three-and-outs throughout the third quarter. Tucker added a 39-yard field goal for the Ravens, ballooning the lead to 2-0 heading into the fourth.
Just after Burrow completed a nine-yard pass to Tee Higgins, Peters forced a fumble that was recovered by Queen and returned 53 yards to the end zone to put the exclamation point on a superb afternoon.
The Bengals’ only points came on a 38-yard field goal by Randy Bullock with 32 seconds remaining in the game. The Ravens improve to 4-1 as the Bengals fall to 1-3-1 on the season.
For Cincinnati, Burrow finished with 183 yards on 19-of-30 passing to go with an interception. Baltimore found ways to contain Begals running back Joe Mixon, who rushed for 59 yards on 24 carries.
Next up for the Ravens will be a Week 6 away matchup against Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 18 at 1 p.m. as they aim to extend their winning streak.