Bengals Lose Burrow With Sprained Wrist In Loss To Ravens
BALTIMORE _ With Pro Bowl quarterback Joe Burrow out with an injured throwing wrist and top cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt joining him on the sidelines with an injured quad, the Bengals lost Thursday night’s AFC showdown with the Ravens, 34-20, in a brutal game of attrition at M&T Bank Stadium.
Head coach Zac Taylor called it a sprained wrist and that Burrow apparently fell on it at some point in the game.
The first-place Ravens, who jacked their record to 8-3, didn’t escape. They lost Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews with an ankle injury early in the game and moments later, after a tackle by Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson, quarterback Lamar Jackson needed his left ankle heavily taped in the medical tent.
But the Bengals, falling to 5-5, took the bulk of the damage in the standings and the injury list. Their bid to win their third straight AFC North title fell to less than one percent and Burrow couldn’t return after throwing a four-yard touchdown pass to running back Joe Mixon with 5:49 left in the first half.
It gave the Bengals a 10-7 lead, but Jackson didn’t miss a snap as the Ravens ran off a 20-3 binge by scoring on the four straight drives following Burrow’s injury. Burrow apparently fell on his wrist before, maybe on the play right before, and after the TD pass, he bent to his knees and tried to flex it.
Burrow backup Jake Browning entered his second NFL game with 2:20 left in the first half and when the Bengals couldn’t generate a first down (wide receiver Trenton Irwin’s diving 10-yard catch at the Ravens 38 on third-and-three was overturned), the Ravens microwaved a killing 80-yard touchdown drive in 1:07 to take a 21-10 halftime lead with 23 seconds left.
It was another tough outing for the Bengals secondary four days after Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud hit them for 356 yards. Jackson gunned seven passes of at least 20 yards and went 16 of 26 for 264 yards for a 121.4 passer rating.
The Ravens’ NFL-leading pass rush was just as tough on Burrow as it was Browning. Baltimore racked up five sacks and as the two-minute warning beckoned, Bengals Pro Bowl wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase had one catch for ten yards, but he grabbed a two-yard touchdown pass off a Browning fade with 68 seconds left. Browning finished eight of 14 for 68 yards.
What an excruciating first half, where enough was crammed into an entire evening in the first 30 minutes.
Burrow, who completed his last seven passes, went into the locker room with members of the training staff flexing his right hand. When Browning checked into the game near the two-minute warning, the Bengals were down, 14-7, after Ravens wide receiver Nelson Agholor caught linebacker Germaine Pratt’s deflected pass for a 37-yard touchdown.
Burrow had just begun to heat up and left with a 100.4 passer rating on 11 of 17 for 101 yards after a monstrous 12-play, 82-yard touchdown drive that took a page out of the Ravens playbook by engulfing 7:22. It was all Mixon (who finished with 69 yards on 16 carries) as they overcame a delay of game and false start. Mixon carried it five times for 21 yards and he caught three more for 22, the last outrunning linebacker Roquan Smith in coverage. Burrow also sifted two third downs to keep it going, a 21-yard loft to tight end Tanner Hudson and a 13-yard bullet over the middle to wide receiver Tyler Boyd in the red zone.
But then all hell break loose. When Burrow tried to grip the ball, he couldn’t, and stalked to the locker room.
Then after giving up eight passes of at least 20 yards last week against the Texans, the Bengals DBs struggled with the Ravens receivers as Jackson went 12 of 19 for 186 yards and in addition to Agholor’s 37-yard gift, he got a 33-yarder to Flowers and a 29-yarder to Rashod Bateman.
The Bengals had been called for three pass-interference penalties coming into the game and they had three called in the first half, two in the final crushing drive of the half (rookie safety Jordan Battle and rookie cornerback DJ Turner got nabbed) and when Bateman got away from Taylor-Britt for 10-yard touchdown catch with 23 seconds left, it was 21-10 at the half.
Taylor-Britt got hurt on the play and joined Burrow on the sidelines for the rest of the game with a quad injury.
The Bengals couldn’t score a touchdown on their first possession for the sixth straight game. Instead, Burrow had to call a timeout on third-and-seven when the formation got mixed up and when he went for Boyd over the middle and it was broken up by diving safety Marcus Williams dangerously undercutting the route. On first down, Burrow tried to throw a quick screen across scrimmage to Chase, but the ball sailed on him. On the drive, Burrow scrambled for nine on the first snap and the Ravens committed their 60th penalty of the season when Hudson was face-masked after a seven-yard catch.
But Evan McPherson made sure they scored on their seventh straight first possession when he drilled a 50-yarder to cut the lead to 7-3 with his sixth 50-yarder of the season. In front of his idol, Ravens Pro Bowl kicker Justin Tucker, McPherson his career percentage from 50 to 23 of 28, including the postseason. But moments later, McPherson barely missed a 53-yarder to the left.
Trey Hendrickson, who wasn’t supposed to play Thursday night, was immense on the second series, dropping running back Keaton Mitchell for a four-yard loss and then ringing up a sack working against backup left tackle Patrick Mekari, giving him 9.5 for the season.
It was a foreshadowing for the next two series, also three-and-outs, featuring Taylor-Britt defending long balls to OBJ and Bateman and Battle harassing Jackson on two straight blitzes.
Burrow had to call another timeout on the second series when rookie wide receiver Shed Jackson, in his second NFL game, didn’t line up where Burrow wanted him and they couldn’t hear each other amid the din. And it turned into a three-and-out when Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton went over Chase’s back to knock away a first-down pass and on third down Jadeveon Clowney racked up a sack coming over the right side.