Bengals beat rival Ravens, take eight-game profitable streak into playoffs

The Bengals stamped their standing as arguably the AFC’s most harmful group heading into the playoffs. 

Cincinnati downed Baltimore 27-16 Sunday to take an eight-game profitable streak into the postseason, the longest within the AFC. It additionally ties the 2015 Bengals for the longest profitable streak in franchise historical past. 

The division rivals are set to satisfy once more at Paycor Stadium subsequent week within the wild-card spherical, with the Bengals (12-4) being the AFC’s No. 3 seed and the Ravens (10-7) set because the sixth seed. 

The AFC North champions for the second straight season, the Bengals took management Sunday with defensive dominance. That they had 4 takeaways, together with three within the first half that led to 21 factors. 

Bengals security Jessie Bates III basically sealed the sport by forcing a fumble after Sammy Watkins’ 47-yard catch and run, which was recovered by security Vonn Bell with 2:56 left. 

On the finish of the primary half, Bengals Professional Bowl defensive finish Trey Hendrickson had a sack fumble that was recovered in the long run zone for a landing by fellow defensive lineman Joseph Ossai.

Hendrickson had crushed left deal with Ronnie Stanley on the sting to deliver down quarterback Anthony Brown — beginning with Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley inactive — and hit the ball out of his hand in the long run zone, permitting Ossai to fall on it.

Bates had the primary of back-to-back interceptions within the first half. Strain from defensive lineman B.J. Hill led to the takeaway on a cross meant for tight finish Isaiah Doubtless. 

On the following Ravens drive, nickelback Mike Hilton picked off a bobbled cross by receiver DeMarcus Robinson. 

Bates’ interception led to the eight-play, 48-yard scoring drive within the first quarter capped by working again Joe Mixon, who had a one-yard landing run. He proceeded to troll the NFL with a coin-flip celebration, a nod to the Bengals’ frustrations with the league’s playoff tips within the wake of their canceled Week 17 recreation towards the Payments. If Cincinnati fell to Baltimore and the groups had been to satisfy within the wild-card spherical, the location of the sport could be decided by a coin flip.

Bengals star receiver Ja’Marr Chase (eight receptions, 86 yards) surpassed 1,000 receiving yards for the season, marking the second consecutive yr he is accomplished so to start out his profession. He scored a 26-yard landing after Hilton’s takeaway, profitable a one-on-one matchup with cornerback Daryl Worley down the sideline. 

What stood out essentially the most from Cincinnati in Week 18, although? The play of its protection.

Granted, Baltimore was short-handed offensively, with out star tight finish Mark Andrews and right down to the third-string quarterback in Brown. However the Bengals have recorded a takeaway in 5 straight video games and have 11 complete in that span. That is the best way you need your protection enjoying heading into the playoffs. 

While you have in mind how explosive Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ offense could be, that makes for a daunting proposition for the remainder of the AFC. 

“That’s a quarterback’s best friend,” Burrow mentioned in an on-field postgame interview with CBS. “When they can get turnovers, score on defense, it’s going to be tough to beat us if we’re doing that.”

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Ben Arthur is the AFC South reporter for FOX Sports activities. He beforehand labored for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Community, the place he was the Titans beat author for a yr and a half. He coated the Seattle Seahawks for for 3 seasons (2018-20) previous to transferring to Tennessee. You’ll be able to observe Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.

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