Not only did the Cincinnati Bengals lose to the Baltimore Ravens 34-20 Thursday night, they lost their starting quarterback. The headline from the game isn’t just the Ravens moving to 8-2 on the year but the health of Bengals QB Joe Burrow, who left shortly before the first half with a right wrist injury. On the sidelines, he was unable to grip and throw a football and ruled out by the team minutes after the second half resumed.
Forced to turn to backup QB Jake Browning, who had thrown all of one career pass coming into tonight, the Bengals were unable to play catchup in the second half. With the loss, the Bengals fall to 5-5 and have to wonder if their season just came to an end tonight for reason’s beyond the final score.
Before Burrow’s exit, the Bengals and Ravens were trading points. Baltimore scored on their opening possession, a nine-play drive that ended in a 3-yard touchdown from RB Gus Edwards. The only cost was losing TE Mark Andrews on the drive, his ankle trapped underneath a LB Logan Wilson tackle. Baltimore quickly ruled Andrews out from returning.
Cincinnati couldn’t match a touchdown but put up points on their opening possession, settling for an Evan McPherson field goal from 50-yards out. After three Ravens’ punts, the Bengals grabbed their first lead of the night when Burrow hit RB Joe Mixon in the right flat for a 4-yard score on 2nd and goal, giving them a 10-7 lead.
That would be Burrow’s final pass of the night. After releasing the football, he clutched his right wrist. After being examined by trainers, Burrow tried but was unable to withstand the pain of throwing the football. The team ruled him out a few minutes into the third quarter.
The Ravens would immediately answer. Seven plays later and Baltimore was back ahead, QB Lamar Jackson finding WR Nelson Agholor for a 37-yard touchdown on 3rd and 6. It was Agholor’s longest catch of the season, eluding the Bengals’ secondary before pulling an Antonio Brown and front-flipping into the end zone.
The Ravens tacked on another touchdown right before halftime. Following a quick Bengals punt as Browning entered the game, Jackson hit WR Rashod Bateman with under 30 seconds left in the half. Baltimore lead 21-10 at intermission.
Browning led his first points to open up the second half. But the drive stalled at the Ravens’ eight and McPherson hit a short field goal to make things 21-13. Ravens’ kicker Justin Tucker drilled a pair of field goals in the third quarter to boost their advantage to 27-13. Browning struggled to hit his receivers while the running game offered little.
Edwards put the game away for good in the fourth quarter. Capping off a six-play drive highlighted by a 51-yard completion to WR Odell Beckham Jr., Edwards again got a goal line carry and for the second time Thursday night, scored from 3-yards out. The extra point made it 34-13 Ravens. Beckham finished the game with 116 yards, his first 100-plus yard game since 2021.
Browning made the score slightly more respectable. In garbage time, he led his first touchdown drive, throwing his first NFL touchdown with a 2-yard toss to WR Ja’Marr Chase to post the final score, 34-20 Ravens.
Baltimore will travel to Los Angeles Chargers for another primetime game next Sunday night. Cincinnati will host the Pittsburgh Steelers for their first 2023 meeting next Sunday afternoon. Now, the question is which quarterback will start for them.
NOTES: Jackson finished the game 16-of-26 for 264 yards and two passing touchdowns…Gus Edwards averaged 5.8 yards per carry and scored twice…Bengals LB Logan Wilson was the tackler for three injuries Thursday to TE Mark Andrews, QB Lamar Jackson (ankle, who did not miss a snap) and WR Odell Beckham Jr. (shoulder)…Browning finished the game 8-of-14 for 68 yards and a touchdown…Chase finished the game with just two receptions for 12 yards and his late touchdown…WR Tee Higgins did not play due to a hamstring injury.