Confusion and collusion could be two verbs that describe the week 11 Thursday Night Football game between major AFC North rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens. The Bengals came into Baltimore with a chip on their shoulder after a last second field goal by the Houston Texans broke their hearts in a 30-27 shootout loss in week 10. The Ravens had some avenging to do of their own in week 11 after succumbing to a last second field goal loss as well to another division rival, the Cleveland Browns, in a 33-31 loss. Both teams were looking to win a game that was expected to be gritty, mean, and full of emotion. The confusion and collusion comes into play in this game after Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow had to leave the game in the second quarter after tearing a ligament in his throwing wrist that was vaguely reported on the injury report prior to the game. Burrow would finish the game 11/17 for 101 yards and a touchdown pass to Joe Mixon. With the Bengals QB leaving the game in the first half, the Ravens were able to continue their offensive momentum, eventually beating their rivals by a final score of 34-20. With Burrow’s absence the Bengals struggled to move the chains with rookie backup Jake Browning. Browning would finish the game 8/14 for 68 yards and a TD. This game was poised to be another prime time shootout, but due to the injury bug this game turned into somewhat of a disappointment, due to the expectations that were set.
Bengals QB Joe Burrow is out for the season with a torn ligament in his wrist. pic.twitter.com/PLQfLGgwwN— NFL (@NFL) November 17, 2023
The Bengals season is now officially over after losing their franchise quarterback to a wrist injury that should require surgery to fix. Burrow was able to throw one more touchdown pass of the 2023 season, ending his season totals at; 66.8 % completion, 2,309 yards throwing, 15 TDs, and 6 interceptions. After ripping off a four game win streak the Bengals have now lost two straight on top of now rehabbing Burrow with a season ending injury for the second time in his short career. It will be interesting to see the value of Joe Mixon and Jamar Chase in fantasy football now that Browning should continue to be the starting QB for the remainder of the season. Mixon finished with 16 carries for 69 yards and a TD, while Chase finished with only two receptions for 12 yards and a TD. I would keep your options open with Chase in fantasy as his value should drop due to an inexperienced kid under center. Cincinnati’s heart will ache for the rest of the 2023 season after being considered one of the top five contenders to win the Super Bowl at the beginning of the season. Injuries matter but this might be one of the most important injuries of the 2023 NFL season. The Bengals now move to 5-5 and have another divisional matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday who are 6-4 with a stingy defense. Expect Browning to struggle and you should pick up the Steelers D/ST on the waivers if they are still floating around.
Lamar Jackson continues to have an MVP season after carving up the Bengals defense on Thursday night; 16/26, 264 yards, 2 TDs, and a total quarterback rating of 121.3. Jackson and the Ravens continue to produce points at a high volume, thanks to Lamar’s steady play which has catalyzed running back Gus Edwards to have 8 touchdowns in the last five games. Edwards would finish with 12 carries for 62 yards and two rushing touchdowns. After losing J.K. Dobbins in week 1, many thought the Ravens backfield would be run by a committee, but Edwards has taken hold of the starting spot and not let go. Odell Beckham Jr. has also found some success as well, hauling in four receptions for 116 yards. OBJ is firmly cementing himself as Jackson’s second option behind Zay Flowers after the Ravens suffered a major loss in this fourteen point win after star tight end Mark Andrews sustained a cracked fibula and ligament damage in his ankle, forcing him to be out for the rest of the season. The Ravens now move to 8-3, and will take a trip to a struggling 4-6 Los Angeles Chargers team that are on the cusp of firing their head coach. Expect the Ravens to roll into Sofi Stadium and beat up a Chargers team that is dealing with an identity crisis amongst their coaching staff as well as their brand of football.