What a Match!
Despite not having Lamar Jackson in the line-up, the Baltimore Ravens managed to put up a formidable fight against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday night.
The Bengals did come away with the win, but it was far from an easy one for them. They had to battle hard to prevail 24-17 and build up momentum as they advanced toward their next game against the Buffalo Bills in the divisional round. Needless to say, the Bengals were much more challenged than expected during this wild-card matchup.
Ravens’ Great Effort Still Not Enough
Despite the experts’ predictions that the Ravens would be the underdogs in this game, the Ravens managed to go neck and neck against the Bengals, who dominated them during their Week 18 match-up. This was largely thanks to an impressive 17-play drive they started in the second quarter, which ended with a touchdown. Rookie safety Kyle Hamilton forced a fumble and the Ravens recovered it, scoring a field goal to give them their 10-9 lead at halftime.
The Bengals were then hit hard by additional injuries as left tackle Jonah Williams suffered a leg injury in the second quarter. Even though the Ravens didn’t play particularly beautiful football in the first half, they put together an effective performance that gave them a lead going into halftime.
The Ravens defense kept them in the game, despite missing their key pieces, however, we all know that you can not easily win against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals without your best lineup.
As the Ravens inched ever closer to edging ahead of the Bengals in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati’s defense responded with a heroic stand. Logan Wilson made an unbelievable play when he jarred the ball free from Raven’s quarterback Huntley at the goal line, and Sam Hubbard then scooped it up for an electrifying 98-yard fumble return touchdown – a new NFL postseason record.
Bengals fans roared with delight as what seemed like a crucial stretch was transformed into a 14-point swing that finally gave their team a 24-17 lead over Baltimore with only 11 minutes and 39 seconds left in the game. The heroes on this night may have been wearing orange and black, but they weren’t suiting up for Cincinnati’s offense; it was their defense that made a statement and kept their playoff aspirations alive.
Ravens Suffered First Wild Card Loss
Despite their impressive 6-0 all-time record on the road in the wild-card round, Baltimore Ravens experienced another heartbreaker when they faced the Bengals. This defeat marked their sixth loss of the season after either having a lead or being tied in the fourth quarter.
This unfortunate outcome came as a surprise due to their undefeated run-on-away wild-card matches before this contest and highlighted the team’s inability to hold onto leads late in games throughout the season.
The Cincinnati Bengals head into the Divisional Round where they face Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills who also barely beat a team who do not have their starting quarterback.