Baltimore Ravens punish No. 1 pick Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals in blowout

Charlie Goldsmith
Cincinnati Enquirer
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Facing the defending AFC North champions, Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor designed a more aggressive game plan than usual against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

After winning the coin toss, the Bengals took the ball first. Then in the middle of the first quarter, the Bengals went for it on fourth-and-3.

But an aggressive scheme couldn’t stop the Ravens blitz.

Joe Burrow had the worst statistical game of his career, and the Bengals (1-3-1) lost 27-3 to the Ravens (4-1) at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.

Burrow completed 19 of his 30 passes for 183 yards, but the Ravens recorded seven sacks and 15 quarterback hits. 

During the first four weeks of Joe Burrow's NFL career, the rookie quarterback performed better with every game. But he hadn’t faced a defense like the Ravens’.

Oct 11, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA;  Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Patrick Queen (48) strips sacks Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) during the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium.

Burrow completed a 14-yard pass to tight end Drew Sample to open the game, but the Bengals first series ended with Burrow taking a sack. On Cincinnati’s second possession, Burrow led the Bengals to Baltimore’s 37-yard line, but the Ravens defensive line forced Burrow to make a quick throw on fourth down that fell incomplete.

The Bengals didn’t advance that far down the field for the rest of the first half.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson led three consecutive scoring drives in the first half, which gave Baltimore a 17-0 lead at the break.

In the first half, the Bengals only had 109 yards of offense. Cincinnati had its largest halftime deficit since a game against the Ravens on Nov. 10, 2019.

After the Bengals didn’t convert on fourth down in the first quarter, they didn’t have another opportunity to make the game close in the first half.

With 24 seconds left in the first quarter, the Bengals offensive line allowed a Ravens pass rusher a free path to Burrow, who lobbed the ball in the direction of wide receiver A.J. Green. Green didn’t make a play on the ball, and Burrow’s pass was picked off by Ravens defensive back Marcus Peters at the Bengals 31-yard line.

Three plays later, the Ravens had a 17-point lead.

The Bengals offense didn’t respond after that drive, and the Bengals only had 24 yards of offense in the second quarter. Few NFL teams blitz as often as the Ravens, and Baltimore pressured Burrow more often than he has been in any game so far this season.

By the middle of the third quarter, Burrow’s white jersey was covered in green stains.

Cincinnati’s inconsistent offense squandered an impressive performance from the Bengals defense. Jackson only had 3 rushing yards, and the Bengals became the first team this season to hold Jackson to fewer than 45 rushing yards.

Burrow stayed in the game until the end, but Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green and defensive tackle both left with injuries in the third quarter. Green finished with no catches for the first time since 2016.

In the second half, the Bengals didn’t advance past the Ravens 40-yard line until late in the fourth quarter. Cincinnati got into scoring position for the first time Sunday with 4:54 left in the game, and that drive ended with a 38-yard field goal by Randy Bullock to break the shutout.

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