Dominant defense leads Ravens to 27-3 win over Bengals

Dominant defense leads Ravens to 27-3 win over Bengals

BALTIMORE — The Ravens’ matchup Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals was billed as a showdown between Heisman Trophy winners Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow.

It became a showcase for the Ravens defense.

In a 27-3 win at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens (4-1) sacked Burrow seven times — a season high for the defense — held the Bengals (1-3-1) to 205 yards and just 3.2 yards per play and scored their second defensive touchdown of the season.

It was the stingiest game this season for the Ravens, who have allowed more than 343 yards in just one game this year. With an interception by Marcus Peters and fumble recovery for a touchdown, they have now forced a turnover in 18 straight games, the NFL’s longest active streak.

If Burrow, Cincinnati’s No. 1 overall pick, looked like a rookie getting his first taste of Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale’s exotic schemes, Jackson looked like a quarterback who hadn’t had a full practice all week.

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After missing Wednesday’s practice with a sore knee and Thursday’s with an illness, Jackson participated in only Friday’s walk-through session. Coach John Harbaugh said he was “good to go,” but the Ravens looked anything but for much of Sunday’s game.

He finished 19-for-37 for 180 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, though he was lucky not to have a few more picked off. He also had just two carries for 3 yards, both season lows. The Ravens scored touchdowns on two of their first three drives, the second needing just 16 yards to find the end zone, then struggled to get within striking range after the first quarter.

Wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown had six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown, while tight end Mark Andrews had six receptions for 56 yards and a score. Running back Mark Ingram II had 11 carries for 57 yards.

Burrow, who finished 19-for-30 for 183 yards and an interception, struggled just to stay upright. The Ravens had 15 quarterback hits, and five defensive backs — Peters and fellow corneback Marlon Humphrey, safeties DeShon Elliott and Chuck Clark and defensive back Jimmy Smith — finished with a sack.

Sometimes even completions ended poorly. Midway through the fourth quarter, with the Ravens already up 20-0, Humphrey stripped the ball from Cincinnati wide receiver Mike Thomas. Inside linebacker Queen recovered the fumble, his second pickup of the day, and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown.

A late Bengals field goal denied the Ravens their first shutout since 2018, but their defense still finished with a touchdown. Cincinnati ended the game with none.

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