The Ravens’ defense was relentless and the offense was simply present in a 27-3 win over the Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.
The Bengals never threatened offensively as the defense kept first overall pick Joe Burrow on his heels all afternoon.
Baltimore (4-1) will face Philadelphia next week before the team’s bye week. Then, the real fun starts.
Here are four takeaways after the Ravens’ win over the Bengals:
1. Joe Burrow under siege
The Bengals should just consider it a win every game that Joe Burrow escapes with his health.
Burrow, on 30 dropbacks, was sacked seven times and hit a staggering 14 times. Six Ravens each had a sack. Pernell McPhee had four quarterback hits.
Granted, the Bengals entered the game having allowed 15 sacks through the season’s first four weeks, it wasn’t exactly the toughest challenge the Ravens’ defense will face this season. Still, it was a game that the Ravens had to get after the opposing quarterback and they did.
They’ll have another great opportunity next week against the Eagles.
2. The offense is still off
There were times throughout the day that quarterback Lamar Jackson was visibly frustrated at an interception, or a missed pass, or a miscommunication. Through the first five games of the season, the Ravens have been fine offensively, but haven’t reached the level they were at a season ago.
Jackson finished 19-for-37 passing for 180 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He added just three yards on the ground. But a missed field goal (albeit from 61 yards), an interception in the red zone and an overall lack of crispness prevented the score from turning into a total laugher.
Tight end Mark Andrews was a star once again, but the Ravens missed on a few deep shots — again — throughout the day. He caught six passes for 56 yards and a touchdown.
Against the Bengals, the Ravens should’ve turned Sunday’s game into an opportunity for an essentially meaningless second half. Instead, the Bengals hung around longer than they had any business doing.
3. Lamar is pressing
This deserves its own section due to its importance: Lamar Jackson is pressing.
Jackson wasn’t good on Sunday and he especially wasn’t anywhere close to his MVP-caliber self. He threw a horrific interception in the third quarter and nearly threw another equally bad interception in fourth to go along with a handful of poor throws.
He missed on deep shots early, where a well-placed throw would’ve resulted in a big play or a touchdown. It’s been a theme of the season, as the Ravens’ offense simply hasn’t been good enough to beat the teams it has to beat when the season goes down the stretch.
Make no mistake: Jackson being off doesn’t mean he’s had a bad year, or that he’s even remotely been a problem. He just hasn’t helped things like he did a year ago.
With a run game that’s not as dominant as a year ago, and Jackson not making up for the efficiency in the pass game, the offense hasn’t been as sharp as it was during the record-breaking 2019 season. They’ve got time to fix the issues that plague the unit, but they’ve got three weeks before the Steelers come to town.
4. Another double-digit win feels unique
The Ravens won another game by double digits. The last regular season game they’ve played that ended in a single-digit win was in December 2019, when they beat the Bills 24-17.
Since then, they’ve won seven games by more than 14 points. The 27-point margin wasn’t even the widest of the season, as they beat the Browns 38-6 to open the season.
All the Ravens have done this season, in their four wins, is beat teams by more than two touchdowns and use the fourth quarter mostly as garbage time. The weird thing is, it feels like there’s more they’ve got to offer.
The defense was as strong as ever on Sunday. The offense still has some work to do.