Lamar Jackson tossed two touchdown passes, Gus Edwards ran for another score and the Baltimore Ravens held off the slow-starting Cincinnati Bengals 27-24 on Sunday.
The AFC North champion Bengals fell to 0-2 for the second consecutive season. The Ravens (2-0), their division rival, certainly looked like the better team.
Jackson was 24 for 33 for 237 yards. He ran for 54 more, and Edwards — with more chances because of a season-ending Achilles tendon injury to J.K. Dobbins — picked up 62 yards on 10 carries.
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Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, looking as if he might still be suffering the effects of a calf injury in training camp, finished 27 for 41 for 222 yards and two TDs after passing for just 86 last week in the season-opening loss to Cleveland.
Burrow hooked up with Tee Higgins for a 4-yard touchdown on third-and-goal to cut the deficit to three with 3:28 left in the game.
But the Bengals couldn’t stop Jackson and the Ravens’ offense, which moved the chains twice after the ensuing kickoff to run out the clock.
Jackson completed all five passes he threw on a 70-yard opening drive that ate up nearly eight minutes, and Edwards bulled in from 1 yard out to finish it.
The Bengals tied it early in the second quarter on an electrifying 81-yard punt return for a touchdown by rookie Charlie Jones. It was Jones’ first NFL score and the first punt returned for a TD by a Cincinnati player since 2012.
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The Bengals didn’t shake off their lingering offensive malaise until well into the second quarter. They didn’t record a first down until more than 10 minutes into the second, and that came on a defensive pass interference penalty.
But the drive stalled at the Ravens 9 when cornerback Rock Ya-Sin knocked away a pass into the end zone intended for Ja’Marr Chase. The Bengals had to settle for 27-yard field goal from Evan McPherson.
In the second half, Burrow engineered a drive that went to the Ravens 17, but he was picked off near the goal line by Geno Stone. Baltimore’s ensuing drive ended with a 3-yard TD pass from Jackson to Mark Andrews and a 20-10 Ravens lead.
The Bengals pulled within 20-17 while putting together their best drive of the season, with Burrow going 8 for 10 and tossing a 3-yard TD pass to Tee Higgins.
Baltimore pushed the lead back to 10 in the fourth quarter when Jackson connected with Nelson Agholor from 17 yards out.
Burrow finished 27 for 41 for 222 yards and two TDs after passing for just 86 last week in the season-opening loss to Cleveland.
Ravens: WR Odell Beckham Jr. left the game with an ankle injury and did not return.
Bengals: S Nick Scott was evaluated for a concussion in the third quarter and did not return.
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Ravens: Host Indianapolis next Sunday.
Bengals: Host the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, Sept. 25.