Hearts started racing in the fourth quarter as the Bengals offense flatlined after opening a 17-0 lead early on. The Ravens were threatening for the entire quarter, Ray Rice breakin tackles as Ray Rice does. But, the defense stepped up with a huge sack before the two minute warning, forcing the Ravens to use their second time out with 2:18 on the clock and a big, long third down facing them. Sacks are huge in 2 minute drills. It was 4-down territory, though, and on 3rd and 19 Flacco was sacked by Geathers. Game over? 4th and 29, Flacco drops back as idiot Fouts mentions Brandon Stokely, Flacco sacked. Fanene takes his helmet off like an idiot and is flagged, but whatever, the game's gotta be over - or is it? It is.
The Bengals got off to a quick start, and that saved the day. Reminiscent of Northwestern's victory over Iowa yesterday, the Bengals kept the Ravens off the board, and the defense saved the day in this one. 4 sacks, including two big sacks in the 4th quarter, and 8 total QB hits from the D-Line sans Antwan Odom. In comparison, the Ravens sacked Palmer once and hit him 5 more times. The Bengals had 4 tackles for a loss, 2 picks, and 10 passes defensed. You know what that means? The defense played really well, it wasn't just Flacco missing targets.
The Bengals out-gained the Ravens 369-215 (of course, Ray Rice had to tack on a 35-yard catch at the end of the game to hurt our pass defense ranking). Coles finished the game as the Bengals top receiver, catching 6 passes for 72 yards, and Ochocinco caught 5 for 66. Cedric Benson had 34 carries for 117 yards and a touchdown, not a great average, but he sure did get stuffed a lot late. Carson finished with a 91.0 passer rating, better than Flacco's 48.3, on 20/33 passing for 224 yards and a touchdown.
My favorite stat, as you guys may have figured out by now, is time of possession. Well, the Bengals possessed the ball for 40:00 in this one, and the defense just got off the field consistently on third downs. The Ravens converted only 1 of 10 third downs, and were 0 for 1 on 4th. The Bengals were 8 for 18 on third down.
Penalties really hurt Baltimore early, and the Bengals defense held on. It's a big Bengals win, and 4-0 in the division could go a long way. Hopefully Keith Rivers can get healthy for next week's big contest against the Steelers.