Last year’s Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens are suffering this year at 3-5. The Cincinnati Bengals came to visit in Week 10 to see if they can take advantage of the break downs in the Raven’s game play.
The Bengals deferred so the Ravens took the first possession at their own 22. Dallas Clark dropped a perfect pass from Joe Flacco forcing a fourth down punt.
Andy Dalton’s pass to A. J Green was completed after a 7-yard rush from Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis. A pass to Giovanni Bernard just missed the first down marker bringing up 4th and 1. The Bengals elected to go for it, and Dalton kept the ball but failed to push through the Rave’s defense for the first down.
Taking over on downs, Flacco went for the bomb to Jacoby Jones. Bengals defender Reggie Nelson drew a pass interference flag and the Ravens got 48 yards for 1st and goal. On 3rd and goal, Flacco extended the play until he found Clark in the end zone for the first score of the game.
This was the Ravens first 1st quarter score since opening day.
Bengals’ Bernard Tate took the ball 5 yards deep in the end zone and returned it to the 20. Dalton’s slant to Green was knocked away by Ladarius Webb. A hand off to Green-Ellis only netted 2 yards. On 3rd and 8, Dalton’s pass was batted down. What should have been a 4th down punt, Haloti Ngata gave the Bengals a 1st down 15 yards down the field with a roughing the passer flag.
From the 37, Green-Ellis got to the 40 then Marvin Jones took the ball close to the midfield on another 1st down. Dalton’s pass to Mohammed Sanu sailed out of bounds, but Sanu was completed out of position, having cut his route short.
After a delay of game flag, Dalton came out of the shotgun and was hit as he threw the ball away, bringing up the punt.
Flacco’s pass to Tory Smith was caught for the first down. A hand-off to Bernard Pierce drew a personal foul flag for a face-mask in the backfield, giving the Ravens another first down inside the 40. Pierce split tackles and powered his way to the 18 yard line. From there, the Bengals held the Ravens to a field goal, making the score 10-0, Ravens.
The Bengals receiver dropped the punt in the end zone and knelt it down to start at the 20. Bernard dove for a first down. The spot put the short of the marker but it was reversed on a challenge for a first down at the Bengals’ 46 yard line.
Bernard skipped through a huge hole to gain a first down. Raven’s lineman Haloti Ngata went down without being hit and medical staff took him off the field. He later went into the locker room with a sprained knee.
Green-Ellis moved the ball down to the 29 and gained the first down on 2nd and 3 to the 26. The first quarter ended with the Ravens leading 10-0.
Starting the second quarter, Dalton went deep but was incomplete to Mohammed Sanu off a Raven’s edge blitz. The Ravens held the offense to a field goal try but kicker Mike Nugent missed wide left from 42 yards out. The score remained Ravens 10-0.
Flacco was hit throwing the ball on 3rd and 10 and the Bengals’ Vincent Ray came up with an interception. Unfortunately, Cincy went 3 and out, and had to punt it away. At this point, Dalton had completed 5 of 14 for 36 yards.
Flacco passed incomplete deep for Smith who was double covered. On 3rd and 9 he was sacked on an ankle tackle by Ray.
Dalton threw an interception on 3rd and 10 to James Ihedigbo, his first pick of the season. A personal foul flag on Sanu for a low block on the run back gave the Ravens another 15 yards. There were no Bengals in the area when Dalton released the ball.
With 6:30 remaining in the half, the Ravens scored another touchdown off a pass to Smith to push their lead to 17-0.
Ngata returned to the game as Cincinnati was forced to punt again.
The first half was all about defense. The Bengals’ offense could not keep the ball nor could they consistently move it in their favor. The Ravens’ were winning the battle at the line of scrimmage and shutting down the Bengals’ attempts at a running game. In the passing game, Dalton could not seem to hit his own receivers, and when he did those receivers either could not keep the ball or gain yards after the catch. The half ended with the Ravens still in the lead 17-0.
The Bengals got the ball first in the third quarter. A pass to rookie Tyler Eifert gained a first down the sideline. Eifert showed incredible field awareness, keeping his heel up as his toes hit the edge of the grass. He was finally brought down after shaking off two hits.
The Bengals went for it again on 4th and inches but got it this time on a Green-Ellis surge forward.
The momentum stalled as Dalton was sacked with Bernard open in the backfield. The Bengals ended up settling for a field goal. Nugent made this one from 32 to put the Bengals’ first points on the board, 17-3.
The Ravens punted again and the Bengals ended up giving up the ball. Dalton’s pass to Marlon Jones was complete but the Ravens’ Ladarius Webb wrestled the ball away from him. It became a moot point as the running and passing game failed again against the Bengals’ 5th rank defense.
For some unknown reason, the Bengals ended up redoing a punt that they did already. The referee’s microphone malfunctioned when he stepped up to explain. However, Tate took the ball at the 10 and returned to the 20 yard line. Dalton was sacked by Elvis Dumervil twice in a row, forcing another punt.
Dalton finally got a drive going and worked down field. The Bengals went for it on 4th down. Dalton faked to Bernard and scampered down to a first down slide. On the next play, Dalton flipped the ball to Bernard under pressure from a Ravens blitz. Bernard danced his way into the end zone to pull Cincy within a touchdown, 17-10.
The Bengals defense held the Ravens to only 126 total offensive yards at this point. Dalton seemed to shake out of his daze and hit Green over the middle twice to move the ball down the field. Until he threw another interception to Ihedigbo, his second of the day and the season. Elam tipped the ball and his teammate recovered it. The Ravens had to punt and with 1:28 left in the game, Dalton took the field again.
Dalton was sacked at the 57 by Dumervil, and spiked the ball with 2 seconds left.
On 4th and 15, Dalton heaved the ball into the end zone. It bounced off the crowd at the goal line, was tipped up Ihedigbo and caught by Green. The kick tied the game at 17 to send it into overtime.
The Bengals won the toss and received but were unable to convert on a 4th and 2. Bernard was pursued on the hand off and when he tried to go back to the other side of the field, he was smothered by Corey Graham and Ihedigbo for a loss of yards. The Ravens took over on downs with outrageous field position at their own 44 yard line.
The Raven’s got down within Justin Tucker’s range and set up for the field goal try.
On 4th and 8 Cincy called a time out to attempt to freeze up Tucker before the kick. Tucker re-positioned for the kick and hit from 46 yards to win in overtime 20-17.
The Bengals come back was valiant but did not carry over into the overtime quarter. Both defenses were brutal and effective today. The Bengals’ offense did not match their production until late in the game and fell apart in the overtime quarter to give the Ravens a win at home. The Bengals fall to 6-4 and the Ravens improve 4-5. Cincinnati hosts the Cleveland Browns next week and the Ravens travel to Soldier Field to play Chicago.
It was a sloppy game all the way around. Neither quarterback lived up to expectation. Both offensive lines allowed multiple sacks and turnovers. Overall the defenses carried this game from kick off to final tick. The Bengals and the Ravens have to tighten up and fill the holes. If these offenses had played as well as the defenses, we may have seen another record breaking score. As it is, we were just happy to see the game over.
By Brandi Tasby