Without Lamar Jackson and several other starters, the Ravens logically fell to Cincy. But the two teams will meet in the Playoffs.
Cincinnati Bengals (12-4) – Baltimore Ravens (10-7): 27-16
Already qualified for the Playoffs and the first place in the AFC North already awarded, Cincinnati and Baltimore were only playing to obtain the best place for the playoffs which are to begin next week. In this little game, the Bengals ensured the essential by winning an eighth straight victory against the highly limited Ravens, enough to provoke a rematch between the two rivals during the Super Wild Card Weekend.
Anthony Brown’s Calvary
Without quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley, undrafted rookie Anthony Brown leads the Baltimore offense for the final game of the season. And very quickly he will show his limits (19/44 passing, 286 yards, 2 INT, 1 fumble lost). His first pass of the game? She is intercepted by the Cincinnati defense. Rebelote on the next drive, even if he is not helped by his receiver Demarcus Robinson.
Opposite, the solid Bengals benefit from it. After initially opening the scoring on a field goal following a drive of almost eight minutes, Joe Burrow’s band (25/42, 215 YDS, 1 TD, 1 fumble lost) converted Brown’s two turnovers into touchdowns. First through running back Joe Mixon (68 YDS in total, 1 TD), who allows himself to chamber the NFL with his celebration, then thanks to a nice reception from Ja’Marr Chase (8 REC, 86 YDS, 1 TD) in the end zone (17-0).
Joe Mixon mocking the NFL’s decision to have a coin flip by celebrating his TD with a coin flip is my new favorite TD celebration of all-time #Bengals #CoinFlip pic.twitter.com/uIZm1oCBsr
—John Breech (@johnbreech) January 8, 2023
Anthony Brown then manages to get his head out of the water a bit despite the absence of running back JK Dobbins and tight end Mark Andrews, two important members of the Baltimore attack. He relies in particular on Isaiah Likely (8 REC, 103 YDS) as well as the Kenyan runner Drake (16 races, 60 YDS, 1 TD), who unlocks the Ravens counter with a touchdown on the ground (17-7). Short-lived joy, however, Brown being sacked by Trey Hendrickson in his own end zone at the very end of the first half. Sack that turns into a fumble, then a touchdown, 24-7 Cincinnati.
Cincy attack in trouble, Baltimore does not take advantage
If the Bengals’ defense dominated the first period, it was Baltimore’s that stood out at the start of the second by causing a fumble through a sack on Burrow. The Ravens, however, fail to capitalize, and must settle for a field goal. This sequence symbolizes in a way the third quarter, in which Anthony Brown’s attack is limited to three field goals in four drives despite two trips in the opposing red zone.
The Ravens may have some regrets as the Bengals are stalled offensively. Except for a field goal after two big receptions from Mixon and Chase (27-16), Cincinnati continues the sterile possessions in the second period. The injury of offensive lineman Alex Cappa does not help matters, with Burrow often under pressure.
In the end, it is once again an action from the Bengals defense that will allow them to secure the victory. On a 47-yard reception from Sammy Watkins that could have made the end of the game interesting, Cincinnati caused a fumble that put an end to Baltimore’s last hopes. 27-16 final score, see you next week at the same place.