The Bengals won a thrilling contest Sunday over the Ravens to ascend back atop the AFC North. The win gave Cincinnati the season sweep of Baltimore, and both victories involved Andy Dalton getting the game-winning score.
In Week 1, it was Dalton hitting A.J. Green for the game-winner late in the fourth quarter.
On this day, Dalton called his own number on a QB sneak on fourth-and-goal from about the two-yard line to power Cincinnati to the win. This, coming after the two previous drives in which Dalton committed two turnovers that gave Baltimore 10 points, and it looked like he'd lost the game for the Bengals.
Though that final play had the option for Dalton to sneak it in, the original call was for a pass that Dalton checked out of to sneak it in for the score, as Butch Hobson notes.
"On the one-yard line. Our guys against theirs. Our guys fought hard and were able to push enough," said Dalton, summing up Sunday’s victory over a Ravens team that had muscled to the top of the North with the NFL’s stingiest red zone defense.
Dalton had talked it over with offensive coordinator Hue Jackson and Jackson told him if the sneak was there, take it. The Bengals took out their big goal-line personnel and spread the field with four receivers. The original call was pass, but if the Ravens responded to the spread with spread personnel of their own and played coverage, Dalton was looking for the sneak.
"It was a call I made. We had it schemed up right with look that we had. Hue talked about it," Dalton said. "If there was a chance to get it in, sneak it. So we got a good look. The guys up front did a good job with the push. We had something else on…We were able to get exactly the look we wanted to get."
It takes stones to call that play against a Ravens front seven that came into the game ranked seventh-overall in rush defense, and to that point in the game, had controlled the line of scrimmage.
For the game, Baltimore allowed Bengals running backs and Dalton to gain just 84 yards on 32 carries (Mohamed Sanu had 27 yards on two outside runs). That's just 2.6 yard per carry, and it shows how dominant the line was for most of the game.
For Dalton to make the call to run it right into the teeth of that Ravens defense shows how far he's come as a QB, and one the Bengals can feel good about having for the foreseeable future.