Well, it was what Bengals fans have come to expect against the elites of the NFL: a brutal beatdown. The Baltimore Ravens silenced Joe Burrow and Cincinnati’s offensive attack, and had a pedestrian day by their standards offensively, still whooping the Bengals 27-3. Just an ugly, ugly football game; I much preferred Kentucky’s Saturday night slugfest.
Could not have gone much worse. Starting with the bizarre decision to receive the kick-off after winning the toss, the Bengals went on to play possibly the worst half of football any professional team has played in 2020. Bad game plan. Bad play calling. Bad players. Sloppy all the way around.
The Bengals punted after four plays to begin the game, and Baltimore responded with a lackluster drive, aside from a 42-yard reverse by Devin Duvernay that put them in field goal range. Tucker knocked one through to open up a 3-0 game.
Cincinnati made it into Baltimore territory on their next drive but stalled out on fourth down at the 37. Baltimore marched right down the field following the turnover on downs, capping off a 63-yard drive with a Mark Andrews touchdown.
The Bengals came back out and threw a pick after Burrow panicked while being chased by unblocked defenders. This offensive line could not have performed any worse. False starts, obvious holds, miscommunication, missed assignments; a lazy, sloppy effort indicative of this whole roster aside from the two dudes named “Joe.”
Baltimore capitalized quickly, aided by a W-E-A-K roughing the passer call on Carlos Dunlap. (I’ll say this: Joe Burrow has taken much worse hits without a sniff of a flag). Regardless, Hollywood Brown caught a two-yard touchdown pass two plays later. 17-0.
Neither team scored for the rest of the half as the Bengals botched a series of drives, including a three-and-out in the blink of an eye right after Logan Wilson picked off Lamar Jackson, who didn’t even play particularly well in the first half despite the three-score advantage.
That’s the biggest takeaway. Yes, Baltimore jumped out to a 17-nothing lead, but the Bengals defense was able to string together four consecutive stops before the half. However, there was nary a point to show for it, as the offense took no advantage of a good defensive performance against Jackson. This team is brutal to watch and cheer for and there’s no reason to believe Burrow can reach his ceiling with this coaching staff and core roster. 17-0 after a rather paltry Ravens’ first half is five steps in the wrong direction, and Burrow got rocked several times. Outright failure.
Neither team scored until the two-minute mark of the third quarter, when Justin Tucker bounced back after a pre-half 61- yard miss and delivered a 39-yarder to extent Baltimore’s lead to 20-zip. Cincinnati’s offense couldn’t get anything going for most of the half and the Ravens salted the wound with their final score of the day on a fumble returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Following the fumble, Cincinnati had its first sustained offensive drive of the game…down 27 points in the middle of the fourth. Taking nearly eight minutes off the clock, Mixon and Burrow worked their way 45 yards down the field, capping off their 14-play drive with their lone score of the day, a 38-yard Randy Bullock field goal.
Final score: Ravens 27, Bengals 3.
Postgame News Conference https://t.co/4BT0fKVhHL
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) October 11, 2020
Final reaction: Joe Burrow can’t heal everything.
The coaching staff continues to disappoint in nearly every aspect since taking over last fall, the offensive line’s performance last week must’ve been a mirage as they’re back to getting bullied at the line and letting free rushers tee off on Burrow, and the current Cincy roster simply has no stars.
AJ Green appeared to get caught on TV mouthing the words “just trade me“, although he’s been practically unplayable anyways, so losing him might not be a horrible thing. But, for the past decade, Green was the most reliable player in the Bengals locker room, a stand-up guy and consistent star-level performer on the field.
The other players of that type in the 2010s? Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap.
Dunlap expressed public frustration with his demotion to bench player, but, like Green, he’s declined steeply in 2020. Atkins has been injured but returned to the lineup today. He didn’t have his name called a whole lot, but helped hold Lamar Jackson and the Ravens rush attack to a below-average day. Perhaps he can still contribute, but it’s clear that he, Dunlap, and Green are well past their prime, and there’s a need to re-tool with high-impact players.
When lined up against a supremely talented and well-coached team like Baltimore, Cincinnati always tends to falter, usually losing in embarrassing fashion as the flaws of a bad football team are exposed in the Bengals.
Against Baltimore, Cincy had less talent, worse coaches, slower defenders, and no superstars. The Ravens had all of it and reflected their advantage on the scoreboard in a blowout win. 27-3.
Cincinnati falls to 1-3-1.