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Bengals Sweep Ravens 17-7

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Baltimore’s defense allowed the Bengals to score on their first three series of the game to put them up 17-0 with about eight minutes left in the second quarter. It was all that they would need to sweep the season series from the Ravens and to remain unbeaten against AFC North opponents.

The first quarter was all about Cincinnati dominating Baltimore on both sides of the ball. The first drive saw Carson Palmer (20/33, 224, 1 TD) lead his team down the field 73 yards and toss a 6 yard pass to Andre Caldwell. The second followed an all too familiar formula with two pass interference penalties and Ced Benson running over the front line for a 1 yard score. That drive was eighty yards. Tack on a Shayne Graham 23 yd field goal in the second frame and Baltimore had a huge hole to get out from under.

The Bengal defense was just as stifling, as they grounded the Baltimore run game holding them to 55 yards. They also kept Joe Flacco off balance and out of sync most of the afternoon as they sacked him four times and picked him off twice.

By the time the Ravens caught their breath it was the fourth quarter. Flacco and the offense finally mustered a decent drive that was capped by a Ray Rice 2 yard run for a score. But any momentum of moving ball again on the next drive was deflated as Steve Hauschka missed a 38-yd field goal with 6:17 remaining that would have cut the lead to seven.

The loss drops the Ravens to (4-4) a full two games behind the AFC North lead and keeps them entrenched in third place. Next week they travel to Cleveland for a Monday Night match-up with the Browns.

Points to Ponder

How could the Ravens play so well last week and so poorly this week?

One, they weren’t playing against Kyle Orton. Orton wasn’t going to beat you deep last week and the secondary pressed up all game. Today you could see the fear of getting burned long and the backs held, clutched and did whatever they could drawing penalties in the process. Two, give credit to the line play of the Bengals. For a second straight meeting they dominated the Ravens lines at the point of attack. Their defense disrupted the run and their offense opened holes for Benson and gave Palmer time to throw. Third, penalties extended drives for the Bengals and shorted momentum on the offense. Lastly the sense of urgency that we saw last week wasn’t there. It was important for Baltimore to get out quick and they didn’t really compete until late in the third quarter.

Why can’t the Ravens seem to move the ball against Cincinnati?

That’s a great question. How can I answer it? The Bengal defense statistically is middle of the pack, they have been stout against the run but have been hurt against the pass. They average giving up 341 yards a game. So you would think that an offense that averages 28 points a game would be able to score more than 7.

But I watched a similar game plan from them just from the first meeting. They got pressure from their front four and dropped seven in coverage in their Cover Two scheme trying to take away Flacco’s deep ball and forcing him to throw over the linebackers and in front of the safeties. They also bracketed Derrick Mason again to take away Flacco’s safety valve.

With all this chalk talk aside, I didn’t see much different in the offensive approach and game plan from last meeting. How about some No-Huddle to start the game instead of saving it down 17? The Bengals stopped the run and Baltimore gladly made itself one-dimensional as they only rushed the ball 17 times. Couple that with an atrocious third down conversion rate of 1 for 10 and perhaps the worst showing that the offensive line has put in all season.

Where does this leave Baltimore for the remainder of the season?

Forget winning the AFC North. They are still in the mix for a Wild Card berth though. Just look around the AFC, the Jets are 4-4, the Ravens have two meetings with Pittsburgh who is 5-2, The Texans are 5-4 and that loss to the Colts is big for us at the moment, and the Chargers have 4 wins as well but we hold the tie breaker over them with a win. So all isn’t lost yet

But this team has to put consistent efforts together over the next four games to have any hope of talking playoffs.

Who was the offensive player of the game?

Ray Rice again. 12 for 48 with a TD on the ground and 8 catches to lead the team. Joe Flacco needed a big game to lead this team and he turned in a clunker. Bad footwork and decision making and I don’t think the offense like rest of the team showed much urgency.

Who was the defensive player of the game?

I’ll go with Ray Lewis  had 8 tackles and helped will the unit to shut out Cincinnati in the second half. But he had his moments of being blown out of plays early too. Ed Reed’s strip was a great play that the offense couldn’t take advantage of. Nice to see Suggs getting a sack but he hasn’t been much a game changer this season.


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One Response to “Bengals Sweep Ravens 17-7”

  1. pj says:

    Browns are gonna get taken apart tonight again.Has anyone noticed Ray Rice has got some freakin huge arms!!!!!

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