Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister

Lance McAlister covers everything in Cincinnati sports! Host of sports talk on Cincinnati News Radio 700WLW and ESPN 1530!Full Bio


Opening thoughts: Say hello to your 1st place Bengals

Photo: Getty Images

Opening thoughts: Bengals 41 Ravens 17

Baltimore fans booed, then were filing out of M&T Bank Stadium with 7:00 remaining. John Harbaugh pulled Lamar Jackson late. Zac Taylor emptied his bench. All in a all, a hell of day as the Bengals battered the Ravens 41-17.

The 5-2 Bengals have surpassed their 2020 win total (4), won 7 of their last 10 and won three straight on the road. They lead the AFC North, beating the Steelers and Ravens by a combined 65-27. They sit as the No. 1 seed in the AFC North. Pinch me.

The Ravens scored on the opening drive of the 2nd half to take a 17-13 lead. The Bengals outscored them 28-0 the rest of the way.

Offense: 520 yards/321 in the second half. 5 TDs of 20+ yards. 10 plays of 20+ yards.
Joe Burrow: 23 for 38, 416 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT, 1 sack (113.5). Dissected the middle of the field all day long. It was as if Ravens were down a player in secondary. Burrow started 2 for 7, then went 21-31. Leading 27-17 in the 3rd, he threw a really bad red zone pick into the endzone. But D picked him up and forced a punt. He has at least 2 TD passes in 7 consecutive games, tying Carson Palmer for the franchise record. Per ESPN, he has thrown 17 TDs this season, tying Boomer Esiason (1988) for the most by a Bengals player through the first 7 games of a season in franchise history. He was under heavy attack early, but the OL seemed to settle down as the game went on.

Ja'Marr Chase: 8 catches on 10 targets, 201 yards. He broke multiple tackles and raced 82 yard for aTD. He caught his first 7 targets. Baltimore had no answer. None. He broke Speedy Thomas' franchise rookie record of 177 yards (1969 at Denver). Season: 35 catches, 754 yards and 6 touchdowns. Pacing for: 85-1,831, 15 TD.

CJ Uzomah: 3-91, 2 TD (55 yards, 32 yards.......4 TD on the season. Higgins 7 catches/62 yards on team high 17 targets.

Run game: Started 11 carries/24 yards....but when they needed to close it out they had 13 carries/87 yards. They ran four straight plays with 9:24 left, including a 21-yard dash by Mixon and a 46-yard TD burst by Semaja Perine with 7:07 remaining.

Defense: Did not allow points over final six possessions after Ravens took lead on opening drive 3rd quarter. Sacked Lamar Jackson 5 times. He started 0 for 4, wound up 15 of 31, 257 passing, 1 TD, 88 rushing. Recorded three 4th down stops. 5 of 16 on 3rd down. Ravens rushing: Jackson 12-88, everyone else 12-27.

Sack attack: 5 sacks. 19 through 6 games. 2020: 17 sacks in 16 games. Sunday: Hendrickson 1, Hubbard 2.5, Ogunjobi 1.5. Per ESPN: Jackson was pressured on 19-of-42 dropbacks (45%). 3rd-highest pressure rate he has faced as a starter in his career.

Sack differential:

2020 -31 (48 sacks allowed/17 sacks recorded)…..16 games

2021 + 2 (17 sacks allowed/19 sacks recorded)…….7 games

Big sequence After Ravens needed just three plays to score to begin the 3rd and take a 17-13 lead, the Bengals answered with a four play TD drive. The D then forced a three and out with a Trey Hendrickson sack. Then, Chase went 82 yards and it was 27-17. Boom. Hendrickson has to have one of the highest rates of 3rd down impact plays as as player in the NFL.

On a roll: After three punts and a FG on first four drives of the game the Bengals went: TD, FG, TD, TD, INT, TD, TD over next seven possessions. Bengals entered game having not scored a TD in 11 consecutive quarters vs Ravens. They scored one in the 2nd quarter, two in the 3rd and two in the 4th.

Last meeting: Ravens 38-3, January 3, 2020. Had been outscored 65-6 in two previous meetings.

A first: Bengals have been 0-18 when losing turnover battle under Zac Taylor. Lost at -1.

1 penalty, 1 turnover, 1 sack allowed.

Mop up: Taylor pulled Burrow and emptied the bench for the 2nd consecutive week. Unreal. 20 players got at least one offensive snap, 23 got defensive snaps and 39 saw special team snaps.

Luck runs out: Bengals lost the coin toss after winning 11 consecutive.

Short yardage woes: Killer 3rd and short fails early, including Mixon going 9.5 yards on 1st down, then Mixon stuff on 2nd and 3rd.

Margins: One week after delivering the largest margin of victory of the Zac Taylor era (23), the Bengals topped it (24).

McPherson 2 FG's, including a 52 yarder

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