They did it for Zimmer. The Bengals defense held when it counted and gave Carson Palmer a chance with just over 2 minutes left in the game. After a series of penalties and catches and runs, including a 4th-down scramble by Palmer, the Bengals found pay dirt as Palmer hit Andre Caldwell for the game winning touchdown. There would be no Flacco heroics this week, as a last-ditch Hail Mary fell into Leon Hall's breadbasket for the game-ending interception.
This win has to go out to defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. After losing his wife this week, the man dove into work and coached the Bengals defense to victory. Here are some numbers that are very telling about the game this week:
- Time of possession - Bengals: 34:19, Ravens: 25:41.
- Rushing yards - Bengals: 142 yards, Ravens: 82 yards.
- Passing yards - Bengals: 261 yards, Ravens: 175 yards.
- Total yards - Bengals: 403 yards, Ravens: 257 yards.
What does that say about the Bengals defense and offense against a top-ranked defense and top ranked offense? Cedric Benson and the offensive line made plays all day, keeping Carson Palmer on his feet and opening holes. Benson, though, may have had the play of the game when he spun out of a tackle in the backfield and out-sprinted the Ravens secondary for over 20 yards into the end zone.
Chad Johnson had 7 catches for 94 yards, and Chris Henry is finally getting some chances, making 3 catches for 92 yards, including a 73 yard bomb, good for the Bengals' longest play for scrimmage this year. Daniel Coats dropped 2 touchdown passes - but let's stay on positives. Benson had multiple 10+ yard runs, averagin 4.4 yards on 27 carries. Guys, I know we love the pass and hate seeing bad runs, but when our running backs get 21+ carries in a game, we simply win.
And we won today. Joe Flacco's longest play from scrimmage was a result of bad tackling and Ray Rice making a great play happen. But Flacco hit no one down field. Ravens backs had only 18 carries for 4.6 yards per carry. The Bengals defense allowed only 8 points, and had 2 key take aways to end the game and keep points off the board. Our cornerbacks have certainly made a case for themselves as one of the best in the league.
One update: Cedric Benson now leads ALL NFL rushers in yards since last December. Wow.
Feel free to discuss other key points here, and look for a full recap later tonight.