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Ravens News 10/11: Purple Heart Award and more

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens The Enquirer-USA TODAY Sports

Five things we learned from the Ravens’ 19-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals - Childs Walker

Despite Cincinnati’s last drive, this was also a win for the Ravens’ defense.

The Bengals started out with quick throws, trying to minimize the Ravens’ chances of exploiting their threadbare offensive line. But as soon as they faced a third down, Campbell stormed up the middle to hit Burrow and force an incompletion.

Cincinnati faced third-and-12 on its next possession, and this time, Jason Pierre-Paul beat his blocker one-on-one for his first sack as a Raven. A blitzing Josh Bynes leveled Burrow to set up another three-and-out the fourth time the Bengals had the ball.

Though Burrow found his rhythm in the second quarter, aided by several missed tackles in the Ravens’ secondary, the defense played well enough to win in the first half, holding the Bengals to one of six conversions on third down and forcing them to punt on their first four possessions. The wide receiver trio of Tee Higgins, Ja’Marr Chase and Tyler Boyd, which Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey called “obviously” the best in the league, produced just 29 yards before halftime.

Remember, Burrow threw for 941 yards combined as he hung 41 points on the Ravens twice last season. He threw for 217 and produced a mere 17 points this time around.

Humphrey stood tall in coverage. His partner in crime, Marcus Peters, destroyed a double handoff for a 12-yard loss on that essential stand in the third quarter. Pierre-Paul batted away two passes on top of his sack. Queen had dropped interceptions in each of the two previous games, so he spent his week catching tennis balls to hone his hand-eye coordination. This time, he held on, and his turnover set up Tucker’s 58-yard field goal.

“They’ve been getting a lot of noise about how they’ve been playing,” Jackson said. “In our eyes, they played lights out.”

Five Takeaways From The Ravens’ 19-17 Win Against The Bengals - Bo Smolka

The Ravens are the team to beat in the AFC North.

The winner of this game, by virtue of Cleveland’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers earlier in the day, was going to be all alone in first place in the AFC North. It feels especially important that the Ravens held serve and won at home, because the way this division is shaping up, the regular-season finale at Cincinnati could have the division title in the balance.

Sure, there’s a lot of football between now and then, and the first five weeks have revealed that every AFC North team has flaws.

The Bengals have a receiver group that Ravens fans would swoon over, but the offensive line can’t block and for all that firepower, they have been held to 20 points or less in three of their first five games. The Browns (2-3) are scuffling, and waiting for suspended quarterback Deshaun Watson to hit the field later in the season, and the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4) are having growing pains with a rookie quarterback, though their Week 1 upset win at Cincinnati could loom large in the playoff race.

The Ravens know that it’s a week-to-week league, and the viewpoint on one Monday can look a lot different the next Monday, but despite two disastrous collapses at home, they have so far shown to be the AFC North’s most complete team.

“Nobody’s going to win the division in October,” John Harbaugh said, “but these games are going to go a long way at the end of the season.”

Marcus Williams Headed to IR, But Wrist Injury Isn’t Season-Ending - Mink & Brown

Marcus Williams is headed to injured reserve with a dislocated wrist but will not be out for the rest of the season, Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday.

Harbaugh said Williams’ timetable for return will be based on the required games Williams must miss on IR (four games) but reiterated that it will be a “significant” amount of time.

Williams played with the dislocated wrist during the first half, as Harbaugh said Williams suffered the injury on the Bengals’ first or second drive. Williams didn’t play at all in the second half.

Ronnie Stanley played 22 offensive snaps in his 2022 debut and received strong marks for his performance. He had 13 pass blocking attempts and allowed zero pressures.

Stanley said he felt good afterwards, and Harbaugh saw one particularly positive indicator that Stanley’s twice surgically repaired ankle is strong.

“He anchored really well,” Harbaugh said. “That was important with the ankle to see that and I thought he was going to do that because he did it in practice.”

Asked whether Stanley would continue to be part of a rotation with Patrick Mekari, Harbaugh said that would be determined by Stanley and the team’s medical staff.

Marcus Peters Earning ‘Ravens Purple Heart Award’ for Week 5 Performance - Todd Karpovich

Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters entered the Week 5 game against Cincinnati Bengals listed as questionable.

That was potentially problematic for the Ravens, who struggled against the quarterback Joe Burrow and the rest of the Bengals’ offense last season.

Peters will be nominated for the Ravens’ Purple Heart award, which recognizes those who fight through an injury and play that game.

He was not only active but played all 63 snaps and made several huge plays in the Ravens’ 19-17 victory.

In one instance, Peters blew up wide receiver Tyler Boyd on a 13-yard sack with Burrow in the end zone, which was a key moment in the game.

The Bengals went from 2nd-and-goal from the 2 to third down from the 14.

The 2022 NFL Quarter(ish)-Season Awards - Steven Ruiz

Offensive Player of the Year: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore’s win over the Bengals on Sunday night wasn’t an MVP showcase for Jackson, who was without top receiver Rashod Bateman, or a particularly efficient night for the Ravens offense. But it was more proof that the unit’s success is wholly reliant on the brilliance of its quarterback.

This was Jackson’s worst outing of the season as a passer—and that includes last week’s game, which was played in a rainstorm. The Ravens quarterback threw for only 174 yards and one touchdown against Cincinnati and missed on two deep balls that might have put the game away early in the fourth. But in crunch time, offensive coordinator Greg Roman put the ball in Jackson’s hands and asked him to win the game. And he did. After two quick passes and a modest scramble to start the drive, the Ravens play caller started spamming QB keepers, and despite knowing what was coming, the Bengals were powerless to stop it.

Jackson is averaging nearly 75 yards a game on the ground. His 12 touchdown passes rank second behind only Allen. He’s on pace to throw for more than 3,000 yards and run for more than 1,000, a feat that has never been achieved in the history of the league, according to Stathead. We have, quite literally, never seen a season like this at the NFL level.