Bengals scorch Ravens, move into tie atop AFC North behind Joe Burrow's big day

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BALTIMORE – Just 54 weeks removed from an unsightly first trip to visit AFC North foe Baltimore, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow turned the tables in his return.

The second-year pro – who as a rookie turned the ball over twice and didn’t record a touchdown in a blowout loss against Baltimore – this time around delivered a dazzling performance as his Bengals stunned the Ravens 41-17 at M&T Bank Stadium.

Burrow passed for 416 yards and three touchdowns along with an interception in the end zone. Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase burned the Baltimore secondary for 201 yards and a touchdown on eight catches, and tight end C.J. Uzomah racked up two touchdowns and 91 receiving yards.

Cincinnati improved to 5-2 on the season – posting its best start in six seasons – and moved into a tie with Baltimore for first place in the division.

Bengals scorch Ravens, move into tie atop AFC North behind Joe Burrow's big day

The Bengals, who led 13-10 at halftime before outscoring Baltimore 28-7 in the second half, also found the end zone on a 21-yard Joe Mixon run and a 46-yard Samaje Perine scamper (both in the fourth quarter).

Baltimore had its five-game win streak snapped and now enters its bye week with serious questions to answer about its defense.

Lamar Jackson passed for 257 yards and a touchdown (a 39-yarder to Marquise Brown) but struggled with his accuracy, completing just 15 of 31 attempts. The quarterback also rushed for 88 yards on 12 carries, but he was sacked five times as the Bengals’ downfield coverage forced him to hold onto the ball longer than he would have liked.

Entering the week, Bengals coach Zac Taylor said he didn’t believe in “measuring-stick games.” The victory did, however, serve as a strong testament to Cincinnati’s progress. Until Sunday, none of the Bengals’ victories this season had come against teams with winning records.

The Week 3 win over Pittsburgh came as a surprise at the time, but as Pittsburgh has struggled throughout the early going of the season, that win hasn’t seemed quite as significant.

The Bengals turned in an impressive performance against the Green Bay Packers in Week 5 but lost 25-22 in overtime.

The thrashing of the Ravens, meanwhile, delivered a true statement.

The signs of growth displayed by the Bengals thus far this season are real. Burrow, just less than a year after a devastating season-ending knee injury, is indeed back and better than ever. And the Ravens, a perennial playoff team and anticipated contender for the Super Bowl this season, suddenly have company atop the divisional standings.

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Mike Jones on Twitter @ByMikeJones.

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