Sep. 17, 2018
Dalton, Green Lead Bengals To Thursday Night Win Over Rival Ravens
Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals came out hot on Thursday Night Football in an early season division game versus their Baltimore Raven rivals in Cincy to move to 2-0 on the year. The Bengals wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in the first quarter. Following an opening drive punt, safety Jessie Bates III picked off a pass from Joe Flacco intended for receiver Michael Crabtree which led to an eventual four-yard touchdown pass from Dalton to A.J. Green for the first of three touchdowns between the duo on the evening. Not much time later, another pass from Dalton to Green traveled 32 yards for the touchdown and a 14-0 lead for the Bengals after one.
But the offense continued to rumble as the second quarter got underway. By the time Dalton was hitting Green for a third touchdown between the two on the evening, the Ravens found themselves in a 21-0 hole. To that point, Cincinnati's defense held the Raven offense to just 17 yards of total offense through their first four drives and forced that Flacco interception that led to their first touchdown drive. Flacco and the Baltimore offense would respond on their fifth drive of the game by putting together a 10 play, 75-yard touchdown drive that ended on a one-yard rush by Javorius Allen to cut the Bengal's lead to 21-7. However, Cincy would not be stopped, and they responded to the Raven's drive with a long touchdown drive of their own that gave Andy Dalton his fourth touchdown pass of the half, this time to Tyler Boyd for 14 yards that gave the Bengals their 21-point lead back.
They would head into the locker room up 28-14 after a drive by Baltimore that lasted just 54 seconds ended with a one-yard touchdown pass from Flacco to Mark Andrews. The Ravens would not go quietly in the second half either, coming out with a 55-yard field goal by kicker Justin Tucker to narrow the deficit to 11 points before both teams took turns bringing each other's offensive production to a halt. During the stalemate, it was Joe Flacco who again made a crucial mistake as he turned the ball over again, this time on a deep pass to John Brown which was picked off by safety Shawn Williams in Cincinnati territory. After forcing the Bengals to punt rather quickly, Flacco redeemed himself and threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Brown which got the Ravens within five points after the failed two-point conversion, 28-23.
Time was still on the Ravens side, but just when it seemed like they would get the defense off the field quickly, a defensive holding penalty to cornerback Tavon Young extended the Bengals drive which ended in a field goal. Down two scores with all three timeouts left and still time to spare, Baltimore had a chance to get back in the game. However, it was fumbled away on 3rd and 10 from their own 25-yard line when Flacco rolled out of the pocket and the ball was knocked loose by Shawn Williams. It was recovered by defensive end Jordan Willis and just like that the Ravens would have to use their timeouts and hope kicker Randy Bullock missed his field goal to keep it a one-score game. Bullock drilled his kick to give the Bengals the 11-point edge yet again and that would be all she wrote.
The primary killer on the evening for the Ravens was the turnovers. Two interceptions and a fumble by Joe Flacco resulted in 10 points for Cincinnati which changes the entire scope of the game. He finished the night going 32-for-55 passing with 376 passing yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions, and he was sacked four times as well. On the other end, Andy Dalton was spectacular despite completing just 57% of his passes. Dalton finished the game 24-for-42 passing with 265 passing yards and four touchdown passes. As mentioned earlier, the primary recipient of those touchdown catches was A.J. Green who finished the night with five receptions, 69 receiving yards, and three touchdown grabs to help lead the Bengals to the prime time win. For the Ravens, they will look to rebound next week against the Denver Broncos at home while the Bengals look to keep things rolling against the Carolina Panthers on the road.
Bengals 34, Ravens 23
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