The Bengals win! Carson Palmer is really awesome at winning games against Baltimore when he starts at quarterback for the Bengals. Today - credit goes to the defense. Four interceptions and consistent pressure on Joe Flacco really won this game. The last two times the Ravens had a chance to win the game, the Bengals got pressure to Flacco that resulted in intereceptions.
On key statistical metrics, the Bengals were roughly equal with the Ravens. Both teams had 14 first downs and converted very few third downs (4/15 for Baltimore and 3/18 for Cincinnati). Cedric Benson had 23 carries, adding to the statistical evidence that handing the Predator the ball wins ballgames. You're not allowed to take away big plays, but if you did, the Bengals gave up 124 passing yards on 16/38 passing. For most of the game, Joe Flacco was awful. Ray Rice, too, has stats that look better than he played today. Take away his big run that led to a Baltimore FG, which counts in real life, he had 15 carries for 57 yards, which is pretty pedestrian. The Bengals defense was awesome for most of the day.
Penalties reared their head after a relatively clean week in the loss to the Patriots last week. Palmer's accuracy continues to create questions. Dropped balls are a concern. The combination of Palmer's perhaps not-great accuracy and drops led to 11 targets at Terrell Owens leading to just 3 receptions. Chad Ochocinco was targeted 9 times and had 3 catches and at least two drops.
In the trenches, the Bengals had 8 QB hits and a lot more hurries than that. 9 passes defensed and 4 interceptions are further evidence of consistent pressure. The only Bengals sack was a .5/.5 effort from Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson. The Ravens logged 7 QB hits and a sack with 2 TFL, largely resultant of the offensive line disintegrating in the second half.
But hey, a win is a win! Mike Nugent is perfect this year, and was 5/5 today including a 46 yard try. Kevin Huber struggled punting the ball, but Bernard Scott, who returned the only kickoff of the day for the Bengals, broke a 60-yard game changer.
Game ball? Defense! The line, really. Flacco never got comfortable (besides one drive) and made a lot of bad mistakes. Honorable mention to Terrell Owens, who put forth some great individual efforts after the catch this afternoon. Also to Mike Nugent, who didn't go Graham on us.