There’s a long-running dialogue going on between Joe Burrow and the Baltimore Ravens. Not that the Cincinnati Bengals’ quarterback minds a bit of trash-talking.
Burrow took a jab at the Ravens during a recent appearance on the Full Send Podcast. He referenced how much the Ravens “talk,” and Burrow also made light of last season’s lopsided series between the AFC North rivals.
The Bengals won both games by an aggregate scoreline of 82-38. Burrow was prolific in each matchup, taking full advantage of a banged-up Ravens’ secondary.
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Burrow Comments Stoke Rivalry
Burrow said he loves playing the Ravens, “’cause they talk. They talk. I love that.” When asked about last season’s games, Burrow said the score “was a lot to a little.”
The first-overall draft pick in 2020 couldn’t even remember exactly how many yards he and his teammates burned the Ravens’ depleted defense for last season: “I threw for 520-something in the second one, and I threw for 400-and something in the first one. Ja’Marr had like 260-some yards in the first game.”
Then Burrow reiterated, “yeah, I love playing the Ravens. They like to talk, and so, I don’t start the talking, but I usually… If somebody, you know, pokes me, I can talk a little bit.”
Those games improved Burrow’s record against the Ravens to 2-1, according to StatMuse. He’s completed 69.3 percent of his passes and thrown seven touchdowns, compared with just two interceptions, during those meetings.
Burrow’s cavalier words didn’t escape the notice of everybody connected to the Ravens. In fact, inside linebacker Patrick Queen appeared to take direct notice of what was said, per former Ravens.com editor Sarah Ellison:
There was nothing particularly incendiary about Burrow’s comments, but his words should rev the engines of everybody wearing Ravens purple. Especially those playing on the defense.
Members of the unit will be anxious to put things right, particularly the players who didn’t get to pose Burrow a tougher challenge last season.
Healthy Ravens Should Have an Answer for Burrow
For the purposes of exactitude, Burrow’s numbers from those games were 416 yards and three touchdowns during a 41-17 win in Week 7. He was even better when the Bengals won again, 41-21, in Week 16, posting numbers that came close to record-breaking proportions, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Those stat lines make for grim reading for the Ravens, but there’s no denying they came with mitigating factors. Like the injuries suffered by starting cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey.
Peters was lost to a torn ACL before the season even started, while Humphrey missed the final five games thanks to a torn pectoral muscle. The Ravens’ secondary was also sans safety DeShon Elliott, who tore biceps in November.
A gallery of players tried to plug the gaps in the defensive backfield, including Kevon Seymour and Anthony Averett. Their deficiencies were compounded by a weak pass rush that produced a mere 34 sacks all season.
The ability to generate pressure consistently is still a concern for the Ravens, while prime edge-rushers also recover from injuries. Tyus Bowser led the team with seven sacks, but he tore his Achilles in the season finale at home to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Bowser got the most support on the field from Odafe Oweh, who logged five sacks. Oweh also underwent shoulder surgery this offseason.
The burden on Oweh and Bowser is expected to be eased by David Ojabo, the Ravens second-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft. New defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald will have to wait for Ojabo, who is recovering after tearing his Achilles at Michigan’s pro day back in March.
This many questions about his edge-rushers means MacDonald may be better served scheming up pressure against Burrow. It’s worked in the past, like when Baltimore sacked him seven times during a 27-3 win in 2020.
Ravens’ defensive backs accounted for five of those sacks, per Kevin Oestreicher of Ravens Wire:
The Ravens have the weapons to unleash similar blitzes on Burrow this season. General manager Eric DeCosta and head coach John Harbaugh restocked the secondary with safeties Marcus Williams and 14th-overall pick Kyle Hamilton.
They will join Chuck Clark and set-to-be healthy again Peters and Humphrey. This group will give Burrow and his favorite target, wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, a rougher time of things in 2022.