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2023 NFL season, Week 11: What We Learned from Ravens' win over Bengals on Thursday night

Baltimore Ravens
2023 · 8-3-0
Cincinnati Bengals
2023 · 5-5-0


  1. Joe Burrow’s wrist injury clouds Bengals season. Burrow had been spotted wearing some sort of wrist splint on Wednesday, which sparked a mini-pregame controversy: Was Joe hurt? He didn’t really look so during a solid start to the game. But after throwing the touchdown pass to Joe Mixon in the second quarter, Burrow grimaced and grabbed his right wrist. On the sideline, he struggled to grip and throw the ball. Shortly thereafter, he was in the locker room getting X-rays on his throwing hand. Burrow, who was not listed on the Bengals’ injury report this week, never reentered the game. Instead, he sat dejectedly on the sideline. A few Bengals teammates appeared just as somber. Head coach Zac Taylor said Burrow suffered a wrist sprain, but we don’t yet know the severity or how much time he might miss. If it’s multiple games, the Bengals could be in an uphill climb after dropping to 5-5 with Monday’s loss. 
  2. Lamar Jackson also nicked up, but Ravens still hum offensively. Although the Bengals were shorthanded defensively coming into the game, the Ravens also were playing without left tackle Ronnie Stanley. His replacement, Patrick Mekari, had a few rough moments, but the Ravens were still able to ring up 401 yards of offense and 34 points -- even if it came with a few breath-holding moments. Jackson was hit by Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson on a throwaway near the sideline in the first quarter, and Jackson appeared to injure his left ankle. He didn’t appear quite as effective scrambling or extending plays after the injury, although Jackson slipped out of a sack late in the third quarter and nearly hit Zay Flowers for an insane would-be TD that was just out of bounds, proving that even at less than full health, Jackson is just different. He threw for 264 yards and two TDs, ran for 54 more and didn’t turn the ball over. It wasn’t an entirely clean night, but the downfield passing game hit on a few big throws and drew some flags. It was a really good night offensively, and that’s even with a 68-yard Flowers touchdown taken off the board on an Odell Beckham hold, although it wasn’t evident from the broadcast where the hold was.
  3. Mark Andrews' injury stings for Baltimore. The Ravens might have dodged a bullet with Lamar Jackson, but they didn’t come out of this game injury-free. On the seventh play of the game, Jackson hit Andrews on a 9-yard pass to the Bengals’ 4-yard line. Logan Wilson brought him down with what appeared to be a hip-drop tackle, landing his body weight on the back of Andrews’ ankle. Andrews immediately writhed in pain, while Jackson slammed his helmet after seeing his tight end’s injury. Head coach John Harbaugh said after the game Andrew is likely out for the season, which is obviously a major blow for an offense just now hitting its stride. After missing the opener, Andrews arguably has been the Ravens’ most consistent receiver, or neck and neck with rookie Zay Flowers. The Ravens have seen their receivers blossom lately, however, and not just Flowers. Odell Beckham had a season-high 116 receiving yards, and Rashod Bateman and Nelson Agholor each caught TD passes. They have the horses to replace Andrews, but it changes how they’ll have to attack opponents in a big way.
  4. Thrown into a tough spot, Jake Browning can’t rally Bengals. Taking over for Burrow late in the second quarter, Browning was thrown into a pressure cooker after the Ravens took a 14-10 lead in a game that weighs heavily in the NFL’s tightest division race. He’d played a grand total of four regular-season snaps (all in a Week 1 blowout) prior to Thursday. But Browning, 27, received a ton of training camp and preseason action with Burrow’s calf injury, winning the QB2 job. He came out fairly sharp on his first few throws but caught bad luck when a third-down dot to Trenton Irwin was ruled incomplete. Browning made some plays with his legs and led a field-goal drive, keeping it a one-score game, as well as a late TD drive, finishing 8-of-14 passing for 68 yards and a TD, plus 40 yards rushing. But he took a few sacks and missed some makeable throws, and when the Bengals’ defense allowed four straight scores in the second and third quarters, it put Browning in too tough a spot. If he needs to start for Burrow for any length of time, we expect Zac Taylor to run his offense and trust Browning to make plays, but it obviously would be a huge development and a major loss.
  5. Bengals’ out-of-character penalties play big hand in loss. Entering Week 11, the Bengals were one of the NFL’s least-penalized teams, committing 41 accepted infractions in nine games. That number reached 50 after Thursday, as Cincinnati had nine flags in the loss. Actually, the Ravens had just as many accepted penalties, and for more yards -- 110 to the Bengals’ 78. But the Bengals’ penalties seemed to hurt them more on the road in a tough environment. On offense, it was procedural penalties, such as false starts and delays of game. On defense, the secondary was flagged five times, with two declined on big plays. The other three infractions netted the Ravens 48 yards. This was also a problem in last week’s loss to Houston, as the defense was flagged for two big penalties, giving the Texans 48 free yards. This Bengals team was already flying into the wind before Joe Burrow’s injury, so becoming penalty-prone in this big a game was a tough look.

NFL Research: Ja'Marr Chase had only two receptions Thursday, which tied his second-fewest in a game for his career. But Chase scored his 28th career receiving TD in Week 11, which is the sixth-most by a player in their first 40 career games (since 1970). The only players with more in their first 40 games are HOFer Randy Moss (36), John Jefferson (34), Rob Gronkowski (34), Odell Beckham (34) and Hall of Famer Jerry Rice (32).

Next Gen stat of the game: Lamar Jackson had 163 of his 264 passing yards come after the catch (61.7%) on Thursday, the third-highest YAC percentage in a game in his career.

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