Lamar Jackson ended his day against the Bengals on the bench, but this time it wasn't donning sunglasses and a smile. For the first time in his NFL career, Jackson was yanked because the Ravens were getting blown out.
A week after a blowout win that put the Ravens atop the AFC, Baltimore was handed a 41-17 rout by the AFC North rival Cincinnati Bengals and suddenly aren't even in first place in their own division.
The Ravens were hoping to go into the bye week riding a six-game winning streak. Instead, they'll be pouring over the film looking for what went wrong in such a lopsided defeat.
"It hurts – period – because I lost. We lost – not just myself – and I hate losing," Jackson said. "It doesn't really matter when it comes; I just hate it – period."
Last week, Head Coach John Harbaugh warned not to make too many lofty proclamations about how good the Ravens are this year. After a rough Week 7 performance, Harbaugh said the same this time around.
"Like I've said many times, and I know you guys listen, but that's how the National Football League works. It's always week to week; it's always game to game," Harbaugh said.
"There never is any running narrative. It just doesn't exist. You have to come out and play your best every week, and we did not play our best – far from it – really, in any phase, and that's on us. That's it. That's what happened."
The Ravens defense gave up 520 yards of offense and the unit's tackling problems reared their ugly head again. Top cornerback Marlon Humphrey lost his one-on-one battle with rookie wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, who put up 201 receiving yards. The run defense gave up two long touchdowns in the fourth quarter that put the game out of reach.
"It hurts. This one is going to burn a little bit, as it should," veteran defensive end Calais Campbell said. "We care about each other, and we didn't get it done today. You have to tip your hat off to Cincinnati. They played a great game today."
On offense, the rushing attack – outside of Jackson – floundered again. Baltimore's running back trio of Devonta Freeman, Le'Veon Bell and Ty'Son Williams mustered just 29 yards on 11 carries. Jackson was left scampering, running 12 times for 88 yards.
Without much of a rushing attack and trailing for much of the game, Jackson aired it out 31 times but completed just 15 passes for 257 yards. He faced consistent pressure from an upgraded Bengals defensive line.
"They just played great defense," Jackson said. "But we left some points out there on the field, for sure."
The Ravens still sit at 5-2 entering their bye. Looking around the league, they are in way better shape than most teams.
Sunday's loss will sting, but Baltimore is determined not to let it linger.
"We can't let this beat us twice," Campbell said. "[It was a] division game at home, but at the end of the day, [we have] a whole lot of football left to play. It's as simple as that."
"We've done a lot of great things," tight end Mark Andrews said. "You look at the games we've had, where we've been successful, and you try to build upon that. We have a lot of great players, great schemes – all that good stuff. So, for us, just keep plugging away. This is the NFL; we weren't good enough today, but we'll look at what we need to correct, do that, and like I said, this is a dangerous offense. … The season is far from done."