Future opponents are bound to get ideas after watching tape of Joe Burrow being flummoxed and chased by the Baltimore Ravens’ blitzing defenders. The Cincinnati Bengals, on the other hand, need to work harder on keeping their talented rookie quarterback from getting maimed.
Burrow was sacked seven times Sunday, hit another eight times and was forced into a pair of turnovers as the Ravens (4-1) brought pursuers from all angles, highlighting Cincinnati’s nagging offensive line deficiencies and never allowing Burrow to work on the game plan. The result was a listless 27-3 Bengals loss.
Burrow has been sacked 16 times in the last three weeks and an NFL-high 22 times this season.
“We’re not going to play afraid,” coach Zac Taylor said Monday. “You want to keep your quarterback upright. Everything factors into that — play-calling, protection from the other guys and then the quarterback as well. We’re all accountable for that, and we want to keep him upright.”
Nothing was working offensively for the Bengals (1-3-1). Running back Joe Mixon, after rushing for 151 yards the previous week in the win over Jacksonville, managed just 59 yards on 24 carries. The only points Cincinnati could muster came via a meaningless field goal by Randy Bullock in the fourth quarter.
“You just deal with it,” Burrow said. “Come back and fight every play like I have been.”
The Bengals’ defense held gimpy Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson to just 3 yards rushing in playing one of its best games of the season so far. The unit limited Baltimore’s offense to 20 points and kept it out of the end zone on seven of its last eight drives. (The Ravens’ final points came via a scoop-and-score from a Bengals fumble.)
“I thought the defense did a lot of really good things,” Taylor said. “The offense put the defense in a lot of tough positions with turnovers, penalties.”
WHAT NEEDS HELP
The offense. Burrow is still finding receivers on intermediate routes, but the Ravens made him run and prevented anything over the top. He was 19 for 30 for 183 yards, but his longest of the day gained 26 yards. He also threw an interception and took a backside hit that led to a fumble and turnover. The offensive line didn’t make it any easier on him.
“We shot ourselves in the foot a lot of ways,” Taylor said.
Linebacker Logan Wilson snuffed out a Ravens scoring threat with his second interception of the season in the second quarter. (He also dropped an interception). … Bullock has converted 13 straight FG attempts since a miss in Week 1. He’s also 9 for 9 in PATs.
Offensive line. After a decent showing against an inferior Jacksonville defense the previous week, the unit was pushed around by the aggressive Ravens and struggled to pick up the blitzes. It’s hard to see the Bengals as consistently competitive until this is fixed.
DT D.J. Reader suffered a season-ending knee injury. Free agent DT Xavier Williams was signed Monday to replace him. … DE Sam Hubbard (elbow) probably won’t play this week. … WR A.J. Green aggravated a hamstring injury and is day to day.
3 — The number of third downs converted by the Bengals on 16 tries.
The physical beatings are bound to get to Burrow, and the Bengals need to find a way to keep him out of harm’s way Sunday when they visit the Indianapolis Colts (3-2), who have the NFL’s stingiest defense. The Colts lost to Cleveland 32-23 last week.
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