Best part of the game: The Bengals defensive stand at the end. Most memorable defensive performance I've seen in a long time. The Ravens started 1-10 at the Cincinnati 24. The Ravens ran 10 offensive plays (12 if you include penalties and gift touchdown recall) and didn't score a point. In the last seven plays, the Ravens were within six yards of the goal-line. They didn't score a point. Kyle Boller who had Todd Heap wide open, hit Heap between the 8 and the 6, deflects off his chest for the boogeyman, Michael Myers. You guessed it. They didn't score a point.
Best part of the game II: Two kneel downs and a 1-0 start to the season beating division favorites, Baltimore.
Palmer's not-so Great Game: Of all the things we've seen in the past three years (plus one game), is that Monday's performance didn't appear to be Palmer's best. His throws were a little off and the offense as a whole had moments lacking inspiration. Yet, even when he appears to struggle, he still scores a 100.3 passer rating.
The moment the Bengals won: Robert Geathers. His interception changed everything. Making a tremendous athletic move for a 265-pound defensive end in pass coverage, Geathers fell with a descending football and grasp the ball with both hands. He tucked the ball underneath and scored the interception. After it was reviewed, the Bengals had the ball at the Baltimore 22-yard line. Note: This is the second opening game that Geathers had a big influence on -- hit on Trent Green last year knocked out the QB for several games.
On the first play, Rudi Johnson had his best run of the game -- a 15-yard run off Bobbie Williams. On the very next play, T.J. Houshmandzadeh stepped back about a yard off the line of scrimmage and caught the pass running behind Chad Johnson who blocked just enough of Rolle for the touchdown. The Bengals went up 25-20.
On the two-point conversion, Chad Johnson, lined up right, ran a fade to the back corner pylon. Ed Reed, fearing Johnson, pushed him back making it impossible for Chad to haul in the pass. Flag.
On the second attempt of the two-point conversion, Carson Palmer handed the ball to Rudi Johnson running off the left edge. This play worked because Andrew Whitworth pancaked his block on the edge and Jeremi Johnson smoked any stragglers.
Rudi Johnson struggled against a tough Baltimore defense with a rotation of hurting offensive linemen. The Bengals feature back recorded 50 yards rushing on 18 carries (2.7) and a fumble lost. But that 15-yard run was big.
The best (or second best, according to Stampede Blue) duo: 14 receptions for 145 yards receiving.
Disappointing: Tab Perry.
Bengals offensive line: Even though Willie Anderson and Eric Ghiaciuc struggled to stay on the field, the Bengals only allowed one sack against the sack happy Ravens defense. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Note to inspire: I will give credit where it's due. Ray Lewis played with a, reportedly, torn triceps muscle on the third play of the Ravens first defensive series. Not only did he continue to play, he scored over 10 tackles.
Note to inspire II: Shayne Graham. His aliment was never truly discussed other than the same bruised hip (or hip pointer), but he gutted out a tough performance while still doing his part to make tackles.
Special teams: The coverage teams have to get better. The Ravens had 245 return yards on both punt return and kickoff return. B.J. Sams alone finished the game with 177 return yards. Awful.