And then football arrived. By stealing the surprise on the road, the Bengals sidelined the Ravens to claim first place in the division. This is also the way they did it, because a game that started out as a long drawn out fight ended with the Ravens bloodied, beaten and not knowing how to spell their own name. They will remember that game for the rest of the season because they have never been literally dominated like that by the Bengals.
Jackson had never lost when he left against the Bengals, and never in October. Those two things changed on Sunday.
Why the Bengals won
It wasn’t easy on either attack for much of the first half, which is a nod to how both defenses had to go off to start the fight. In a game seen as a potential barn burner, neither Burrow nor Jackson were able to start – with the clubs mustering only one field goal and looking completely out of place offensively, it was until Burrow draws the first blood with a 55-yard touchdown pass to tight end CJ Uzomah to regain the advantage. It suddenly turned into a heavyweight fight with Burrow and Jackson throwing and blocking hay from the middle of the second quarter. But with another explosive game from Chase, it felt more and more like it was the Bengals game to lose.
Chase went ballistic over the Ravens en route to a career-high 201 yards on reception and one touchdown in eight catches and, at one point in the fourth quarter, he was responsible for more than half of the Bengals’ total distance in the game. As running back Joe Mixon, who had been bottled for much of the game, hit a 21-yard touchdown to make it a 34-17 game with less than 10 minutes to go, the Bengals have clearly indicated that they intended to take first place in AFC North by subjecting the Ravens to a punch; and it was fitting that they had seen Uzomah add two touchdowns to the mix on National Close Games Day.
Throwing a 46-yard uppercut from Samaje Perine in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter and message received: the Bengals are the real deal in 2021.
Why the Ravens lost
Jackson is still Jackson, and that means the Ravens weren’t going without a fight. He came back from a deficit of more than seven points to steal a victory already this season – just ask the Indianapolis Colts – as the former league MVP responded to Burrow’s aforementioned second-quarter bombshell to Chase with a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown on his own to tie things up again before half-time, before seeing Chase wake up with less than two minutes left in the second quarter, and the problem for the Ravens was that they didn’t know how to put him to sleep.
The Bengals were able to lead Chase to the goal range before scoring three more points, resuming the lead at halftime, but the Ravens responded with a 39-yard touchdown from Jackson to Marquise “Hollywood” Brown for take the lead in a tugboat – a stretch of war football, but that was all Burrow and Co. from that point on. They had no answer for Uzomah or Chase in the passing game orchestrated by Burrow, and when they started to focus solely on them, Mixon reminded them that he was able to impact games as well. The punches came from every possible direction, including defensively, as the Ravens did all they could before heading to the locker room with a black eye visible – thanks to a Bengals team that is not what they once were.
On their own turf, they have been outclassed by a team that refuses to continue to be the laughing stock of the division.
Uzomah had a day against the Ravens, and his second touchdown not only gave the Bengals a 20-17 lead, he did something much bigger. It showed the Ravens that there wasn’t a punch they could throw that would knock out the Bengals, with the latter never losing the advantage in the game again.
The two teams were exchanging punches at a feverish pace, but with a three-point lead within their grasp, the Bengals turned to Chase to blow up the roof of the M&T stadium, and that’s exactly what he got. done – catch a pass from Burrow and burst forward for an 82-yard touchdown that gave Cincinnati a 17-point lead he’ll never part from.
Cinci is the real deal
“It’s a new day in Cincinnati. – CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones
The Bengals will visit the hapless New York Jets as the Ravens enter their week off looking to reload.