Not that we're getting ahead of ourselves, but if the Cincinnati Bengals conclude the season with an unblemished record, they can look back to week one. It was a game that could have disrupted the euphoric feeling that you have right now, had a few plays gone Baltimore's way. Thankfully the Bengals defense didn't allow it.
For the first time in five years, the Cincinnati Bengals went to Baltimore and beat the Ravens in this year's opener. It was a mini-milestone, sure. But one that Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals needed -- it's the whole division rivals, major conference game argument that tends to harbor the Dalton-under-pressure argument.
With 1:51 remaining in the game, Cincinnati was holding onto a 23-16 lead. Baltimore, from their own 12-yard line, drove to Cincinnati's 22. All that the Ravens needed was a touchdown for an opportunity to tie the game with a PAT. They had the time... they had the momentum. Just prior to the 1:51 mark, Torrey Smith blatantly picked Adam Jones, securing separation for a five-yard reception for Jacoby Jones. In a way, this was the theme in the second half against Baltimore, a significant shift in momentum that favored Baltimore.
Anyway, back to the 1:51 mark at Cincinnati's 22-yard line, Reggie Nelson sniffs out a running back screen pass to Justin Forsett, forcing a four-yard loss on the play. Flacco completed a 10-yard pass on the ensuing play to Dennis Pitta, reaching Cincinnati's 16-yard line with 1:09 remaining.
Oh, boy. Oh, boy.
Third down and four. Wallace Gilberry bursts off the edge and through sheer will, determination and tremendous coverage by the secondary, drops Flacco for a five-yard loss on a quarterback sack. Baltimore, back outside of the red zone, use their final timeout with a minute remaining in the game.
The Bengals defense was feeling rejuvenated by the tears of crying Ravens players.
Fourth down. Paul Guenther dials up a defensive look that showed seven pass rushers. Reggie Nelson, who wasn't one of the players who showed blitz, blitzed. Three-time all-Pro guard Marshall Yanda, had an "oh shit" moment and watched Nelson pressure Flacco uncontested. Gilberry released from that block and closed Flacco's only escape route.
After Baltimore's turnover on downs, Andy Dalton took two knees and the Bengals secured their first win of the season.
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