Marlon Humphrey Defensive MVP Chatter Starts After Dominating Bengals

CB Marlon Humphrey

Marlon Humphrey doesn't like any pass being completed on him. But at this point, it may be better if he does give up a catch.

Humphrey broke out his "Fruit Punch" again in Sunday's defensive domination of the Cincinnati Bengals in a 27-3 victory. Humphrey punched the ball out of the hands of Bengals wide receiver Mike Thomas and rookie linebacker Patrick Queen returned it 53 yards for a touchdown.

In a suffocating defensive performance that almost ended with a shutout, Humphrey still had the defensive play of the day. And that wasn't easy to accomplish in a game that also featured seven Ravens sacks and two other turnovers.

Humphrey has become not only the Ravens' best defensive player, but perhaps the best in the league.

"Marlon, I feel like he should be up for Defensive MVP," said reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson. "If not, give it to him early."

Jackson wasn't the only Ravens player beating that drum after the game. Humphrey now has one interception and three forced fumbles on the season. The Ravens made him the second-highest paid cornerback in the league a couple weeks ago and Humphrey has made it look like a bargain since.

"Marlon is great. I didn't know he was this great," Queen said. "This is like something I've never seen before. … He should be Defensive Player of the Year at the end of this year with how he's playing."

"MVP. Best cornerback in the league," veteran linebacker Pernell McPhee added.

Humphrey also notched the first full sack of his career (he had a ½ sack earlier this season) and recorded five tackles. The Bengals have a lot of talented receivers, but A.J. Green had one target and zero catches, Tyler Boyd had four grabs for 42 yards and rookie Tee Higgins had four for 62 yards.

The Ravens snapped rookie Joe Burrow's streak of three straight games with at least 300 passing yards, holding him to just 183 yards and an interception.

It was the pass rush that seemed to flummox Burrow most. The Ravens brought heat from every different angle and player. Even Marcus Peters, who had never recorded a sack in his previous five seasons, got his first Sunday.

Peters, Queen, Humphrey, Pernell McPhee, DeShon Elliott, Chuck Clark and Jimmy Smith all got sacks. That's five from the secondary. The Ravens registered 15 quarterback hits on Burrow, giving him a black-and-blue welcome to Baltimore.

"I think every starting DB got a sack; that's kind of unheard of," outside linebacker Matthew Judon said. "That just means we're sending people from anywhere and everywhere. … They can cover, and they're also sack specialists."

It was a collective effort for Baltimore's defense, including the coaches and Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale.

The Ravens bottled up running back Joe Mixon, who was the AFC Offensive Player of the Week, last week. He had 24 carries for just 59 yards against the Ravens. The Ravens will have a lot of battles with Burrow in the coming years, but they won't forget their first.

"Man, I had a lot of fun today," Humphrey said. "We don't really care who makes a play, and I think that's what makes it so fun. Whoever makes a play, it seems like we all celebrate, like we made it."

As Queen sat on the bench near the end of the game, he and another defender laughed about Humphrey's forced fumbles.

"When you see Marlon, why do you still run the ball? Just get down!" Queen said. "It doesn't make any sense because he does this over and over again. They're just trying to get yards, but Marlon is Marlon."

See the best photos from Baltimore's 27-3 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5 at M&T Bank Stadium.

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