Halftime analysis of Ravens’ Week 18 matchup vs. Bengals

The Baltimore Ravens have been absolutely manhandled by the Cincinnati Bengals through two quarters in their Week 18 matchup. Cincinnati has played with a palpable defensive edge in this game and has forced three key turnovers that have helped them get out to a 24-7 halftime lead.

Ravens starting quarterback Anthony Brown Jr. has had a hard time finding a rhythm to this point, and has looked totally outmatched by the Bengals’ secondary. Meanwhile, the Bengals’ offense has been able to move the ball on the Baltimore defense a bit, but the Ravens’ defensive unit has also stopped their opponent on a few occasions.

Here are thoughts on Baltimore’s first-half performance:

Ravens' offense struggles with Anthony Brown Jr. under center

Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore has looked totally outmatched against Cincinnati’s defense, and quarterback Anthony Brown has played remarkably poorly through two quarters. He has less than 100 passing yards on 13 attempts, completing just seven passes. Two of his attempts resulted in interceptions.

Clearly, this game would look different if fellow signal caller Lamar Jackson was under center. A late sack taken by Brown in the Ravens’ endzone resulted in a Bengals touchdown that pushed Baltimore’s deficit to 17 points. Brown must achieve much better results in the second half if he intends to lead the Ravens to a win in this matchup, and the play-calling must be better as well

Ravens defense has played well despite being put in impossible situations

Jan 8, 2023; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (1) runs with the ball against Baltimore Ravens safety Marcus Williams (32) in the first half at Paycor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

On defense, the Ravens have played reasonably well despite the fact that they face a 17-point deficit at halftime. The turnovers that plagued Baltimore’s offense early in the game put the Ravens’ defense in impossible situations that enabled the Bengals to score points with relative ease.

Quarterback Joe Burrow is playing an exceptionally crafty brand of football that has kept momentum on Cincinnati’s side, and with the division on the line, it seems that nothing could go right for Baltimore before their offense bounced back to score a much-needed touchdown late in the second quarter.

Penalty battle is effectively even heading into halftime

The Ravens have committed one more penalty than the Bengals so far, but both teams have given up 15 penalty yards. Baltimore has no margin for error in their attempt to make a 17-point comeback in the second half on the road, so watch for discipline to be a major emphasis from their coaching staff moving forward.

This game will have major implications for the coming postseason, and the Ravens could put themselves in a great position heading into elimination games if they can manage a comeback against all odds.

Story originally appeared on Ravens Wire