Lamar Jackson threw two touchdown passes in the second quarter and the Baltimore Ravens beat Cincinnati 34-20 on Thursday night after the Bengals lost their star quarterback Joe Burrow to a wrist injury.
The AFC North-leading Ravens (8-3) completed a head-to-head sweep of Cincinnati (5-5) to move 2.5 games ahead of the division-last Bengals. And that’s far from Cincinnati’s only problem. Burrow left in the second quarter after throwing a touchdown pass and was unable to return.
The Bengals were up 10-7 after Burrow’s four-yard touchdown pass to Joe Mixon, but the Ravens responded when Jackson’s pass up the middle bounced off linebacker Germaine Pratt and straight to receiver Nelson Agholor, who caught the ball calmly and scored. the 37-yard touchdown with a spin into the end zone.
Jackson threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Rashod Bateman with 23 seconds left in the half to put Baltimore up 21-10.
Jake Browning, a 27-year-old substitute who had played in only one NFL game, he replaced Burrow and was able to lead the Bengals to a field goal to start the second half. But that was all he could do until he threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Ja’Marr Chase with 1:08 left in the game.
Jackson threw for 264 yards despite losing one of his top targets, tight end Mark Andrews, to an ankle injury on the game’s first drive.
Gus Edwards closed out Baltimore’s offensive day with three-yard touchdown runs: the first made the score 7-0 and the last 34-13.
Cincinnati has won the division the last two years, when late-season injuries kept Jackson off the field for the Ravens. This year, Jackson has been able to stay healthy (he entered the medical tent after appearing to injure a foot or ankle in the first quarter on Thursday, but remained in the game) and AFC North rivals Baltimore are the ones dealing with health problems as a quarterback.
Cleveland, which won in Baltimore last weekend to move within a half-game of first place, lost Deshaun Watson for the season with a fractured shoulder. Now Burrow is dealing with another injury after suffering calf problems earlier this season.
The Ravens had five sacks, increasing their league-leading total to 44.