Bengals 27 Ravens 16
There will be no coin toss. But there will be plenty of drama in Cincinnati this coming week.
The Bengals scored on their first three possessions and raced to a 17-0 first half lead. But things turned into a slog and struggle from there, with the Bengals finally able to dispose of a scrappy/chippy Ravens team 27-16 Sunday at Paycor Stadium.
Prior to the game, the Ravens opted to rest a number of starters with health their priority for their playoff meeting vs the Bengals next week. The win finally eliminated the 'drama' of a potential coin toss for home field week.
Leading 24-7 at the half, all that seemed to remain for the Bengals in the second half was 30 minutes of 'hold your breath to stay healthy football." That became wishful thinking.
The storyline of this coming week becomes the Bengals health. Starting guard Alex Cappa had to be carted to the locker room with an ankle injury suffered late in the 3rd quarter when he was rolled up from behind. It did not look good. At all. Backup guard Max Scharping took Cappa's place to finish the game.
Meanwhile, the Bills beat the Patriots 35-23, locking up the No. 2 seed (13-3) and giving the Bengals (12-4) the No. 3 seed.
Early domination.....then? The Bengals controlled the 1st quarter...leading 10-0, running 24 plays to the Ravens 7 and out gaining them 111-21. But after leading 17-0, the Ravens outscored the Bengals 16-10 the rest of the game.
No rest for you! The game appeared it would become an opportunity for Zac Taylor to cleared his bench and get his starters same rest, perhaps as early as 3rd quarter. But the Ravens were able to annoyingly hang around.
Burrow: 25 of 42, 215 yards, TD, 2 sacks, QB rating 80.9. He was a tick off most of the day, missing several throws. Protection was not great. He threw it 28 times in the first half. He had a nifty spin from the pocket, balancing himself with his free arm on the ground, and rolling for a six yard gain. Later, he slithered his way out of a sack and threw a 22-yard dart to Tyler Boyd on 3rd and 10. His strip sack fumble (facemask call missed) was converted into a 3rd quarter FG by the Ravens to make it 24-10.
Flipping out: Joe Mixon had a 1-yard TD run and then pulled a coin out of sock and flipped it in celebration with his teammates. Taylor was racing down the sidelines attempting to call a timeout prior to the snap.
Running in place: The run game netted just 55 yards on 20 carries (2.8). Mixon 11-27. But Mixon did take a short pass and scoot 33 yards.
Numbers: Ja'Marr Chase 8 catches/86 yards, TD. Boyd 5-51, Higgins 1 catch on 7 targets, for 7 yards.
A bakery: The defense forced four turnovers + two 4th down stops.
Picked: Ravens No. 3 QB Anthony Brown was making his first NFL starting, having thrown just five passes in his career, all in Week 14. The Bengals intercepted two of his first four pass attempts. Jessie Bates recorded an easy pick of Anthony Brown on the 2nd drive. That's a career high 4 INT for Bates (3 seasons w/3). Mike Hilton grabbed a deflection of Brown's first pass of the 2nd quarter.
Thank you: Trailing 17-7 with :41 left in the half and facing 3nd and 9 on their own six yard line, the Ravens opted to pass. Trey Hendrickson sacked Brown, who fumbled, and it was recovered in the endzone by Joseph Ossai for a TD. The sequence started with a heck of a punt to the five yard line by Drue Chrisman. Rather than run it and kill the clock, the Ravens ended up handing the Bengals 7 points to make it 24-7. The Bengals got the ball to start the 3rd quarter.
Sooooo close: Zach Carter had a 3rd down bat down of a Brown pass attempt that he almost came down with after a juggle in traffic. Germaine Pratt batted a pass into the air and just missed tracking it down for a Pick 6.
Snuffed: Cam Taylor-Britt swooped in to help a 4th and 1 stop of the Ravens at the Bengals 28-yard line in the 2nd quarter.
I'll take that: A 48-yard pass play by the Ravens was wiped out when Bates and Taylor-Britt stripped the ball from WR Sammy Watkins and it was recovered by Von Bell.
Late stand up and stop: Leading 27-16, the defense came up with a 4th and 9 stop at the Bengals 45 with 6:00 left in the game.
Evan McPherson: 34 and 26-yard FGs
Drue Chrisman with a beauty: 56-yard, coffin corner to the five-yard line with less than a minute left in the half. It led to the Bengals sack, fumble, TD recovery. Chrisman finally had his first touchback of the season.
Trayveon Williams had a KR of 29 yards.
That's a franchise record tying eight straight wins....and the 12 wins ties a franchise record (12-4).
The Bengals 22 wins over back-to-back regular seasons equals franchise record....(22) over 2014-2015.....2014 12-10.....2015 10-5-1.
Next: Bengals vs Baltimore, time and date TBA.
Milestones: Burrow's 26-yard TD to Chase was his franchise record 35th this season and make it a TD pass in 23 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the NFL and extended his franchise record. Mixon's 1st quarter catch, his 57th of the season, broke Gio Bernard's single season franchise record for catches by a Bengals RB. Chase went over 1,000 yards for the 2nd consecutive season, despite missing four games. He joins AJ Green as the second Bengal to record 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons to start a career. He actually dipped back under 1,000 yards, momentarily, after he was dropped for a two yard loss on a catch. But a 10-yard catch sent him back over the mark.
Fight! A donnybrook broke out between the two teams on the Ravens sideline in the 4th quarter.
Shaken up: In addition to the Cappa injury......Tyler Boyd took a hit following a 2nd quarter hit and went to the blue tent. He did return after being evaluated for a concussion. Tee Higgins took a big hit in the 3rd quarter that appeared to knock the wind out of him. Cam Sample limped off the field near the end of the 3rd quarter. He did return. Joseph Ossai went into the blue tent for examination.
Jekyll and Hyde: Bengals trailed 17-0 in first half vs Tampa and then outscored TB 34-23 in the 2nd half. The Bengals led New England 22-0 in the first half, but were outscored 18-0 in the 2nd half. Bengals led Ravens 17-0 in the first half and were outscored 16-10 the rest of the way.
Hey, that guy: Jackson Carman saw some snaps as the 6th OL in the formation in the 4th quarter.
Ravens RB Justice Hill, brother of Bengals DB Dax Hill, carried 7 times for 34 yards.