Sunday, September 19, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Bengals 15, Ravens 10
By James Walker
CINCINNATI -- Let's take a quick look at the Bengals' victory over the Baltimore Ravens Sunday.
What it means: This was the eighth straight AFC North victory for Cincinnati, and it came against a team most predicted to win the division. It also was big for the Bengals to avoid falling to 0-2, as that would have severely hurt team's odds of making the playoffs this season. Baltimore's struggles against quarterback Carson Palmer and the Bengals continue. Palmer improved his career record to 9-3 as a starter against the Ravens.
What I liked: This was the type of performance I expected from the Bengals' defense, which finished fourth in the NFL last season. Cincinnati played very tentatively last week against the New England Patriots, but the unit was aggressive Sunday. Two key interceptions late in the fourth quarter ended Baltimore's final two drives to seal the victory.
What I didn't like: Baltimore's offense is definitely not living up to the preseason hype. Despite the acquisitions of Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, the Ravens are struggling to score and continue to commit turnovers. The pass protection also is inconsistent, and quarterback Joe Flacco had one of the worst games of his career with four interceptions. Granted, the New York Jets and Bengals have very good defenses, but it's still clear Baltimore's offense has a long way to go.
Key drive: Bengals running back Bernard Scott returned a kickoff 60 yards to give Cincinnati good field position with about five minutes left. The Bengals then benefited from a controversial personal-foul penalty on Terrell Suggs that helped set up kicker Mike Nugent's go-ahead field goal.
What's next: Neither team wants to fall farther behind the 2-0 Pittsburgh Steelers, who beat the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. The Ravens will play their second straight division game in Week 3, against the Cleveland Browns. Cincinnati plays on the road against the Carolina Panthers.