The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Baltimore Ravens in the Wild Card Round on Sunday to progress to the AFC Divisional Round, but it’s not all bad.
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It was a touch of déjà vu for both Ravens and Bengals fans on Sunday as their respective teams battled it out for the second consecutive week.
This time, it was all or nothing. The Wild Card Round fixture meant that the loser of this matchup would also be saying goodbye to their 2022/23 NFL season.
Unfortunately, Baltimore came up short. A scoreless fourth-quarter for Harbaugh’s men resulted in a 24-17 victory for Cincinnati, who now progress to the AFC Divisional Round. But what can the Ravens take from this devastating defeat?
Joe Burrow Was Kept Quiet
(Other than the record-breaking, of course…)
If you take a look at Burrow’s stats from Sunday’s Wild Card game, it is pretty telling. He managed just one touchdown – nothing compared to his usual numbers. To put this into context, Burrow managed 16 touchdowns in 6 games between Cincinnati’s Nov. 20 game against the Steelers and Dec. 24 game at New England.
His passing yards stats were also below average. Just 209 yards in a season where he would be happy with at least 250 yards.
These stats contributed to Cincinnati’s struggle over the finish line. And that points towards a strong shift put in by the Ravens and an extremely tough day at the office for Burrow & Co.
However, struggle aside, the reality is that Cincinnati are the franchise progressing to next week.
Chances Were There for Baltimore
When Demarcus Robinson caught an impressive 41-yard touchdown pass to bring the game level, momentum seemed to be shifting.
Then, the Ravens found themselves at the Bengals’ two yard line with three chances to gain the yards. These three chances did not go as planned, with the final attempt resulting in a fumble. Sam Hubbard then returned the ball 98 yards and Cincinnati recorded another touchdown.
That was the chance. A nearly moment for Baltimore. And that was probably the difference between victory and defeat in the end.
Bengals Could Just Be the Banana Skin
This can also be perceived as a negative…the Cincinnati Bengals could just be a bogey team for the Ravens. Let’s hope it’s a short term one if so.
Two consecutive game-weeks have seen the Bengals defeat the Ravens. First it was a 27-16 win, followed by Sunday’s 24-17 victory.
It’s not even like Baltimore failed to perform on Sunday. They finished the game with more first downs (23 to 18), more total yards (130 more, to be exact), and more time with possession by almost five minutes.
Recent performances haven’t been incredible, but the foundations are certainly there to build upon for next season. If the QB situation can be resolved, this will boost hope even further in Baltimore.