GAME: Cincinnati Bengals (6-5) vs. Baltimore Ravens (9-2)
WHEN: Thursday, November 30th, 8 p.m.
BROADCAST: NFL Network with Bryant Gumbel and Cris Collinsworth. Westwood One Radio with Dick Enberg, Sam Wyche and Bonnie Bernstein (field reporter). Sirius: 123 (Westwood), 124 (Cincinnati), 125 (Baltimore)
SB NATION: None
PERSONNEL: Deltha O'Neal, John Thornton and Rich Braham are out. Johnathan Joseph will start for O'Neal and Domata Peko for John Thornton. Brian Simmons is active, but Caleb Miller is starting at middle linebacker.
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11:05: Bengals WIN, 13-7. Bengals are 4-1 in the division and go 7-5. In their past 13 division games, they are 11-2. The Ravens go 9-3 and are 3-1 in the division.
11:04: No timeouts for the Ravens. This game is nearly over!
11:00: Damn. Tory James fell down after colliding with Mason and the Ravens scored a touchdown.
10:59: Man, Joseph needs to learn how to catch. It's his fourth dropped interception -- a couple tough ones. He's making plays tonight.
10:59: McNair throws over the middle and completes the pass to Clayton for the first. Then, spike.
10:58: Third-and-five now. McNair looks right and throws left and it was dropped by D.Williams. Ravens go for it on fourth-and-five. Then they are called for delay of game (snickering)
10:52: Shayne Graham missed a 45-yard field to the right. Ravens have the ball.
10:51: After Rudi picked up three yards and Andrew Whitworth was called for a holding, Jeremi Johnson picked up another three yards and was blown up by Bart Scott. Then Rudi picked up 11 yards falling 3 short of the first down.
10:47: What's the deal with T.J? I swore I saw a punch thrown.
10:46: Holy crap! Muffed punt and Kilmer recovers. He took it into the end-zone but it's not a touchdown -- muffed punt rule!
10:42: Third-and-four and Palmer sits in shotgun and throws a quick pass to TJ to the left. Interesting play. But the clock continues to run. That's fine with me.
10:42: Now it's RUDI TIME.
10:41: INCOMPLETE! Tory James challenges Mark Clayton and the ball falls harmlessly to the ground. Bengals have the ball. Second straight game with a shutout? A little ahead of myself?
10:38: Third-and-11. This time McNair didn't run for a first down. It's now fourth-and-three. Ravens call a timeout.
10:36: Sweet. After a sure eight yard pass, the Ravens are called for holding. B.J. Sams broke his fibula.
10:34: McNair dumps off to Lewis who takes the ball to the 18. Bengals call a timeout. Personnel issues.
10:33: Third-and-four, McNair overthrows Heap for an INCOMPLETE. The Ravens are going for it. Fourth-and-four, and McNair throws to Mason who ran a quick slant with Tory James covering. It was pretty good coverage, just a great pass and catch.
10:31: JEANTY IS A MAN! Only one yard by Lewis with Jeanty coming off the edge and slowing up Lewis.
10:30: Third-and-six, McNair, in shotgun, throws to Mason for the first down. Brian Simmons had Mason before the first down marker but missed the tackle.
10:28: Another great play by Jeanty who went over the fullback to make the tackle. Wow.
10:25: Well, that was a quick three-and-out. Bengals punt.
10:24: After a one-yard gain by Rudi, Chris Henry drops a very catchable pass setting up a third-and-nine.
10:20: Third-and-12.McNair drops back and throws right and ALMOST picked off by Johnathan Joseph. SHESH. This guy is badass!
10:19: On second-and-two, McNair throws the ball to... well. No where. Now it's called intentional grounding. I guess he thought Clayton was hooking it and the receiver went in a stop and go.
10:17: Jamal Lewis picks up about eight yards on the final play of the third quarter.
10:15: On third-and-one, McNair runs for the first down.. again.
10:14: On first down, McNair hits his receiver but a hit by Jeanty knocks the pass lose. Incomplete. Then on second down, Lewis picked up a tough eight yards setting up a third-and-two. NFL Network is showing a stat that the Bengals have NEVER had shutouts in seven consecutive quarters. On third down, McNair hits Lewis on a simple swing pass for the first down.
10:11: Wow. You know things are going well when Kyle Larson can drop a kick like that inside the 10. Honestly, he's been one of the most improved players this season. He's done well.
10:08: Palmer falls down after getting stepped on by Eric Steinbach. Bengals will punt rather than try a field goal. Good idea, keep the field position game now.
10:07: After an incomplete to Reggie Kelly -- Palmer threw out on the option route and Kelly was probably looking in -- Rudi ran for three yards setting up a third-and-seven.
10:05: Incomplete. Ravens punt. The Bengals defensive pass rush is making McNair very very uncomfortable. RATLIFF BEST PUNT RETURN EVER!
10:04: Nice play by Dexter Jackson. I thought for sure that would be grounding, but apparently it wasn't. Big third-and-five.
10:01: Third-and-six. Palmer drops back and throws right to T.J. about two yards short of the first down. Bengals punt.
9:58: Two passes (one to T.J. and one to Chad) for first down. Chad Johnson just jumped Collinsworth for all-time receiving yards in Bengals history.
9:55: Third-and-six! McNair drops back, play-action and throws to Mason on a comeback route. For the second time today, Johnathan Joseph jumped the route and nearly picked off the pass. Ravens punt.
9:53: After a false start, McNair dropped back on first-and-15 and dumped off to Mughelli for eight yards. Then the Ravens commit another false start. The crowd is giving them fits. Good. Second-and-12.
9:47: Bengals lead 13-0.
9:46: BENGALS TOUCHDOWN!!!! Flea-flicker!!!!!! T.J!!!!!!! 40 yards!!!!!!!!!
9:46: Rudi gets five! This offense needs to stick the ball into the end-zone. Then Jeremi Johnson BOOM BOOM BOOM picks up 15 yards. He dragged Reed about a good 10 yards.
9:44: Wilkerson's first task. Be aware of linebackers blitzing. Third-and-14, Palmer in shotgun shovel passes to Kenny Watson for THE FIRST DOWN! NICE!
9:42: Ben Wilkerson was designated as the center if Eric G. couldn't come back in. After an Eric Steinbach false start, Palmer hands off to Rudi who picks up hardly anything. Second-and-14. Eric G just came out and Wilkerson is in the game.
9:41: Wow. I think that's Ratliff's longest return of the season.. seven yards. Heh. Bengals have the ball at their own 22 with Eric G. back in.
9:40: Third-and-ten with McNair in shotgun. McNair takes the snap and dumps off Musa Smith. NICE PLAY. Johnathan Joseph, I think, is our best tackling secondary. Best! Ravens go three-and-out and punt.
9:39: Nice job by Johnathan Joseph. He recognized it quickly and jumped the hook route and slapped it down.
9:38: Game on.
9:34: This is the first time I've been able to sit back and watch the NFL Network. Marshall Faulk seems like a natural on television.
9:23: HELL YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Marvin Lewis called a timeout to freeze the kicker. The kick was good, but the timeout was accepted. Guess what? After the timeout, Matt Stover kicked and MISSED THE 29-YARD FIELD GOAL. Bengals take a 6-0 lead into the locker-room.
9:22: Empty backfield, shotgun, McNair throws over the middle and SPIKES it on third down because the pass went one yard short of a first down. Now it's fourth and one. MUHAHAHAHAHA.
9:21: Third-and-four with 45 seconds left in the half. McNair in shotgun drops back and throws right before Justin Smith dropped him completing a first down pass. McNair and the Ravens sprint to the line and spike the ball with 28 seconds left.
9:19: McNair in shotgun with 1:14 left in the game, looks forever and then dumps off to Musa Smith. McNair had all-day. Third-and-four and the Ravens call a timeout with 45 seconds left. It's their last one of the half.
9:17: The first quarter is nearly over and McNair has thrown nine times completing seven for 59 yards. Jamal Lewis has run 10 times already for 29 yards. The thing I'm concerned about is if we can't go up by more than a touchdown, that if Lewis starts to wear down our defense, then we could be in trouble. Wooh, that's the old Bengals fan in me expecting every bad angle. Do you blame me? Remember San Diego.
9:16: Oh yea! McNair can run. Damn.
9:15: Eric G. is having a knee problem and will be back. Big third-and-12. LETS GO. Ravens are 0-3 on third down.
9:14: I guess Eric G. is OK. Lap just said he's strolling back to the offensive line group. Changing shoes after expecting down pour when it's, at best, sprinkling? Two minute warning.
9:12: Another big stuff! Caleb Miller, Peko, Jackson and Sam Adams were in the backfield.. .quickly. Jackson made the first hit behind the line of scrimmage.
9:11: I think I heard the radio guys just talk about Eric G. going to the locker-room for an injury.
9:10: First play, Lewis runs for... ready for this? ZERO! Peko is a man tonight as is Caleb Miller.
9:09: Nice by M.Williams and the Bengals defense giving Sams a "get better" clap of the hands.
9:07: Oh man, Sams is being carted off. By the way, with 4:56 left in the second, Chad has 7 catches for 87 yards. T.J. has six receptions for 56 yards. Carson Palmer is 15/22 for 160 yards. That injury to Sams looks nasty!
9:05: FUMBLE! They're calling it down -- good call. B.J. Sams is hurt.
9:03: Shayne Graham kicks his second field goal and the Bengals lead 6-0. However, we've left eight points on the field.
9:01: Palmer play action looks to the right to Jeremi Johnson who dropped it. The pass was way behind Johnson. Third-and-six from the 9. Palmer, with empty backfield, drops back and scrambles to the right and throws to Reggie Kelly in the end-zone. He caught the football but couldn't get both his feet on the ground. Hell, he was already out of bounds.
9:00: After an eight-yard pick up to Chad, Palmer throws again on a quick pass to Ocho with the secondary way off the line of scrimmage. First down. Bengals are at the Ravens 13.
8:59: Ravens blitz, the Bengals offensive line PICKS it up nicely and Palmer calmly throws a great pass to a barely open T.J. First down baby!
8:58: After a false start on Andrew Whitworth, Palmer drops back and picks up eight yards to T.J. Nice. It kind of helps getting rid of that false start. Then on second-and-seven, Rudi is dropped around the line of scrimmage setting up a third-and-six.
8:56: Holy Crap. Did anyone just see that catch by Chad. Palmer drops back and throws to the left. Chad, jumping a little soon, remained in the air some and picked up another first down.
8:55: First-and-ten, Palmer pitches left to Rudi picking up three yards.Then on second-and-seven, Palmer threw a nice pass to the right to T.J. picking up the first down.
8:54: Here's a nice little fact. The Bengals defense has shutout their opponent for five straight quarters and only given up 16 in their past nine.
8:53: This is so much better than giving the Ravens a quick 14-0 lead in the first milisecond of the game like Bengals-Ravens I. The crowd is charged and the Bengals defense is feeding off it.
8:51: Big third-and-one. Ravens are 0-2 on third down. The Ravens setup off-side I AND SHAUN SMITH STUFFED THE FULLBACK forcing Lewis to stall. Jackson came off the edge and made the tackle. THIS IS BEAUTIFUL! Ravens Punt.
8:50: Nice job by our defensive front. Bryan Robinson took away Lewis' cutback lane picking up no yards.
8:49: I love unsure refs. They make the call but look around only to see other unsure refs -- reason why the NFL should implement college replay. It's not the point to overturn, just make sure it's the RIGHT call.
8:47: Personal foul on the Ravens puts them back at their own 10. Kevin Kaesviharn, I feel a turnover coming.
8:44: Third-and-goal, six yard line. Palmer drops back and scrambles to the right and just ran out of time trying to get the ball to Kenny Watson. Incomplete. Field goal. Great drive though. The line is blocking well and the refs called Chad for interference but not the Ravens secondary on Chris Henry. Bengals lead 3-0 leaving four points on the field. Hopefully that means nothing.
8:42: Chad, after the first quarter, has four catches for 62 yards. Palmer is 9/13 for 102 yards. Rudi is struggling to get going, but it IS the Ravens defense.
8:40: Palmer drops back on second-and-goal and rolls out right, dumps off to Rudi and picks up 10 yards. Third-and-goal back at the six. First quarter is over. This drive is a GREAT drive.
8:40: I don't know about that. It was physical on both ends. First-and-goal at the 16. Palmer drops back and throws left. The pass was just outside the end-zone. NO call against the Ravens. I don't know about that one.
8:40: CHAD JOHNSON TOUCHDOWN! Flag on the play. No touchdown. Pass interference on Chad.
8:39: BIG PLAY! Palmer drops back and hits Chad over the middle who ran a flatter post route. Just perfect placement by Palmer. First-and-goal at the six.
8:38: Palmer on first down, hits Chad on the right running a slant. Another first down. LETS GO!!!!!!
8:37: NICE CHAD! Chad went about 15 yards and then hooked around. He was in mid-air and drops to his back on his way down. Great blocking by the offensive line.
8:35: Palmer drops back and dumps off to Rudi for a nice seven-yard gain. The thing I'm noticing is the Bengals are showing a lot of quick passes. Making sure the Ravens don't tee off Palmer. Holy crap. That's the second run by Jeremi Johnson. I suppose he'll get more carries now that Chris Perry is out for the season. Big third-and two.
8:33: I love it when Jeremi Johnson gets a carry -- picks up three yards. On second-and-seven, Rudi did what he does best -- make the first and second guy miss. Then on third and four, Bengals set up trips right, Palmer drops back and throws to T.J. (a little high) and picks up six yards.
8:32: After Rudi gained two yards on the ground, Palmer drops back and throws left to T.J. who picked up eight yards and the first down.
8:27: McNair, with Peko pressuring, hustles a five-yard pass to Mason. Third-and-seven, McNair drops back, play-action and throws to... (your guess is as good as mine... Heap?)
8:25: Steve McNair, absent good pass rushing, completes a 15-yard pass to Todd Heap. I HATE Todd Heap. On the next play, Jamal Lewis runs towards the outside and Robert Geathers made a great play stretching the play out forcing Lewis out two yards short of the line of scrimmage. Nice. The Ravens, so far, have had a second-and-15 and a second-and-12.
8:23: So far this game, the Bengals offense has been stuck with third-and-nine and third-and-ten. We need to shorten those up. NICE PLAY Glenn Holt -- the runner on the left. Makes the tackle as soon as Sams catches the ball.
8:22: Wow, shows what I know. OK, it's fourth-and-inches. Do we go for it? No. Bengals go three-and-out and punt.
8:18: ATA BOY MARVIN! Marvin challenges the spot.
8:17: After Palmer threw deep to the left into double-coverage that was a little under-thrown, Rudi is tackled at the line of scrimmage on an Ed Reed blitz from the backside. Third-and-ten, Palmer drops back and throws to T.J. who ran his great zig-zag route. HORRIBLE SPOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
8:16: WOW. The NFL withholds $400 million off the table to put eight games on the NFL network -- one of which will be the Browns and Steelers. Two sub-par teams this season. Yea, that's convincing, isn't it Time Warner?
8:14: Sam Adams AGAIN. He's creating some nice disruption in the backfield. Miller and Jackson finished Lewis off. BIG third-and-12. McNair, in shotgun, threw a quick slant to the right to Demetrius Williams for a weak 7 yards. Both offenses do the same. Have a big 15-16 yard play to begin the possession and then fail to convert another first down.
8:11: GREAT PLAY by Sam Adams. Adams broke through the line forcing Lewis to cut back meeting Peko and Smith.
8:10: McNair and company are on the field. McNair hands off to Lewis in I formation. He went into the wide-open cutback lanes and picked up 15 yards on the play.
8:07: On second and nine, Carson drops back and throws a little low to Henry. Big third-and-nine. Palmer drops back, in an off-set I and three-wide receiver formation, was forced to throw it too early after good pressure from the Ravens defense. Bengals punt.
8:05: Yea, Gumbel just called the Bengals a Johnsonian offense. Nice play to start the game. Chad on the right, Palmer drops back and throws to Johnson who ran a 15-yard comeback route.
8:05: KICKOFF BABY. Bengals have the ball first.
7:58: Hopefully Bryant Gumbel is over the flu. I'd hate to see him all monotone fumbling around calling the game.
7:55: If there's one thing I must do before I leave Earth, it's par-tay with Bootsy Collins!
7:35: How are you guys watching the game? Local television, NFL Network or not at all?
We'll start blogging the game at kickoff.