The Cincinnati Bengals announced their arrival as playoff contenders fully in a Week 7, 41-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
Joe Burrow was on fire, throwing two touchdowns to C.J. Uzomah and throwing for 400-plus yards while Ja’Marr Chase ran wild like a cheat code, going for 200-plus yards.
Here’s a look at some quick thoughts and notes right after the game went final.
— The offense didn’t target Ja’Marr Chase on the first drive, which wasn’t ideal. Neither was punting from the 39, only to set the Ravens back only 19 yards after a bad punt. Little things like these are killers against a team as good as Baltimore.
— Cincinnati’s playcalling on short-yardage attempts was abysmal in the first half, including a 2nd-and-1 quarterback sneak. But Burrow, as usual, has a way of bailing out anyone and everyone and eventually hit C.J Uzomah for a pretty touchdown pass to make it 10-3.
— Lou Anarumo’s defense pitched a near-perfect performance in the first half until the very end, forcing three-and-outs and using creative blitzes to make Lamar Jackson uncomfortable. They eventually broke, letting up a 75-yard touchdown drive to make it 10-10, but that’s just part of playing against a talent like Jackson.
— Two touchdowns for C.J. Uzomah after a smooth score early in the third quarter. Burrow checked at the line, Tyler Boyd got nearly quadruple-covered and Uzomah did the rest. He’s feasting while defenses worry about the wideouts.
— Trey Hendrickson picked a key moment to have his first sack of the day, knocking Baltimore out of field goal range in the third quarter. He and Sam Hubbard had monster showings through three quarters.
— Ja’Marr Chase is uncoverable, as noted by his epic 82-yard touchdown.
— Shocking we know, but Chase also had a catch that put the Bengals in kill-shot territory with the game at 27-17. Burrow ended up throwing an ill-advised pick when an incompletion still nets them three points — but that’s just not the character of this aggressive team.
— It was pretty clear the Ravens threw in the towel early in the fourth. Joe Mixon ran for a big score, then Samaje Perine did the same to hang 40-plus on the Ravens.
201: Ja’Marr Chase’s receiving yards by the end of the day. A strong Ravens defense never looked like it stood a chance against him.
Ja’Marr Chase: Who else? Burrow had a great game, making the important checks and extending plays. But none of it ticks like so without Chase doing what he does all over the field.
Contenders: It was easy to be skeptical of these Bengals by pointing to the easy schedule so far and some of the key players each opponent seemed to be missing weekly. But going into Baltimore and looking like this has a way of removing any other doubt. If the team can keep this good injury luck rolling, Burrow and Chase and a strong defense can play with anyone.