- Coley Harvey, ESPN Staff Writer
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Defense stands tall: Lost in much of the chatter about Cincinnati's defeat Sunday was the fact that its defense, all things considered, had a rather impressive game. Penalties were a problem all afternoon for the Bengals, who were charged with seven infractions on defense alone. The first one, a pass interference charged to safety Reggie Nelson on a flea-flicker that came on the Ravens' fifth play of the game, set an ugly tone for the Bengals' defensive unit. When they weren't whistled for fouls, the Bengals made life difficult for Baltimore's offense. They allowed the Ravens to gain only 189 yards of total offense, and limited them to a 3-for-19 showing on third down. Interceptions from Terence Newman and Vincent Rey and a fumble recovery from James Harrison were key turnovers for the at-times-beleaguered unit.
Green goes off: Receiver A.J. Green didn't really want to discuss his 51-yard touchdown reception off a Hail Mary as time expired in regulation. "It would have been a greater play if we had won," he said. Still, as great as that play itself was -- win, lose or tie -- it was only one piece in what ended up being a historic day for the wideout. Targeted 15 times, Green caught eight passes for 151 yards and that lone touchdown. It marked the fifth straight time he had more than 100 yards in a single game. No other Bengals receiver has accomplished that feat in franchise history. After struggling with getting his yards early in the season, Green has suddenly hit his stride and has a strong connection with quarterback Andy Dalton, even as Dalton has struggled in recent weeks.
King Rey: With Rey Maualuga still out with a knee injury, the Bengals have been relying the past two weeks on backup Vincent Rey to keep things stable until Maualuga can make his return. The starting middle linebacker is expected to miss possibly one more game as he recovers from an MCL sprain. In relief, Rey hasn't only kept the defense stabilized. He's taken over. Along with his five tackles in last week's loss at Miami, Rey had 15 against the Ravens on a day that was full of personal milestones. Not only were the 15 tackles a career high, but so were his three sacks. His second-quarter interception also was the first of his career.
Wind a factor? If you ask Dalton or Green if the winds affected their play, they will quickly shake their heads no. Of course, few players would admit that. That's just a case of someone not making excuses. But if we're to be honest, it did appear the wind, which had gusts upward of 20 mph, was a factor for both quarterbacks, and at least the Bengals' kickers. Mike Nugent missed his fourth field goal of the year when he kicked into a tough crosswind that yanked the ball wide left, and Kevin Huber had two punts that barely traveled any distance. He averaged 34.3 net yards on his six punts. Dalton, who often missed throws high, was 24-for-51 passing.