After lingering at the bottom of the AFC North for the last few years, the Bengals have now put the rest of the league on notice.
With Sunday’s 41-17 victory over Baltimore, Cincinnati is 5-2 and 2-0 record against its divisional opponents — with both wins coming on the road. The Bengals beat the Steelers 24-10 in Pittsburgh back in Week Three.
The team has higher aspirations, but quarterback Joe Burrow acknowledged the Bengals’ performance said something about the 2021 team.
“I think it was a big statement, 2-0 in the division for the first time that I can remember,” Burrow said in his postgame press conference. “You know, the most exciting thing was the last two or the last three drives where you know, they knew, we were going to run the ball, and the O-line really took it to them. That was exciting to see. I know those guys were fired up about that, so that’s how you should finish the game — start out throwing the ball, get out on top, and then the O-line finishes it off.”
Burrow added that the Bengals have “tough resilient guys that don’t back down under pressure.”
“That team puts the most pressure on you of any team that I’ve played in the league, and we really responded today,” Burrow said. “We got guys on the outside that are tough, physical guys that are tough to cover, and the O-line played great today when they had to. Third downs were a big emphasis for us, and I think, I don’t know what the stats for us are, but I feel pretty good about all of our third downs in the second half.”
Burrow finished the game 23-for-38 passing with 416 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Ja’Marr Chase had 201 of those yards and a TD, which came on an 82-yard catch and run in the third quarter.
Overall, Cincinnati had 520 yards of offense. And Burrow was right about the team’s third-down numbers, as the Bengals were 3-of-3 in the category in the third quarter.
The Bengals have a game against the Jets in Week Eight and take on the Browns at home in Week Nine before their bye.