CINCINNATI — Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns, outlasting Joe Burrow and the defending AFC North champion Bengals in a 27-24 win Sunday.
With the win at Paycor Stadium, their first since 2021, the Ravens ended a three-game losing streak in Cincinnati. They improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2020. But it took a clock-killing drive late in the fourth quarter, punctuated by a third-down scramble from Jackson, and a solid defensive effort.
Despite missing starting cornerback Marlon Humphrey (foot) and starting safety Marcus Williams (pectoral), and a long second-half absence from top outside linebacker Odafe Oweh (undisclosed), the Ravens’ defense held Burrow to 222 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Cincinnati, which knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs in a dramatic win last season, scored just two offensive touchdowns.
Running backs Gus Edwards and Justice Hill combined for 103 yards on 21 carries, while Jackson added 54 yards. Wide receiver Nelson Agholor led the Ravens with five catches for 63 yards, including a 17-yard score that pushed the fourth-quarter lead to 27-17.
A late Bengals touchdown put a scare into the Ravens, but they held on with a couple of first downs.
Read on for the initial takeaways from The Baltimore Banner’s sports staff.
The ghoulish sound you just heard coming from Cincinnati was the Ravens exorcizing a lot of demons.
Those fourth-quarter ghosts that haunted them last season? That ghastly playoff loss in Cincinnati eight months ago? Things of the past. The idea that the Bengals are the AFC North’s new monsters? Time to reconsider.
The Ravens didn’t have the secondary they’d assembled to stop passing offenses as potent as Cincinnati’s. Their offense was still finding its way as injuries to key players mounted. Their special teams were far from perfect.
And still they’ll go into Week 3 with a perfect record and a very good chance of a 4-0 start. Considering how bleak their injury report looks, and how tough Cincinnati seemed in the preseason, that’s a heck of a September.
— Jonas Shaffer, Ravens beat reporter
A promising sign
Sunday was another slow one for the new Ravens offense, but it did just enough to hold off the Bengals and notch an impressive road victory in a key divisional matchup. There were a few rough patches, but it was the offense that ultimately put the game away when the pressure was on and the Ravens needed it the most. The Ravens would certainly like more sustained, consistent production from that side of the ball, but winning one like they did today while still working through new wrinkles is a big positive.
— Aron Yohannes, sports reporter
Let them cook
This time, the Ravens remembered to preheat the oven. Of the two quarterbacks who signed massive deals this offseason, Lamar Jackson looked the more complete with plenty of time to make throws from the pocket and methodically move up and down the field.
What might have been most impressive was how capably the Ravens patched holes for their injuries. They ran the ball without J.K. Dobbins; Geno Stone had a critical pick; the offensive line protected better than last week; the receiving corps showed out even though Odell Beckham Jr. was shelved midway through with an injury. In their win in Cincy, the Ravens proved composed and resourceful – two qualities you’d expect from a Super Bowl contender.
— Kyle Goon, sports columnist
A glimpse of how it might work
After that summer of anticipation, and a Week 1 where everything seemed unrefined or maybe un-oiled and rusty, the vision for Baltimore’s offense came into focus Sunday. Even after losing Odell Beckham Jr., Todd Monken had plenty of weapons and deployed numerous looks that left Cincinnati guessing at coverages. His plan often took pressure off an offensive line missing two starters, and Lamar Jackson was clearly much more comfortable. The return of Mark Andrews had a lot to do with that, but he also made every type of throw Sunday and was judicious but effective as a runner.
Cincinnati is, somewhat mysteriously, clearly still finding its way. The key pieces are all the same, but something isn’t working as it should, yet. Still, credit to a Ravens defense that is without key starters; holding that team to 222 passing yards is very difficult to do.
— Chris Korman, sports editor