A.J. GREEN: How else can I explain his afternoon? Dominating? I hate that word. Regardless, despite a first half struggle against the Baltimore Ravens, A.J. Green secured 227 yards receiving with 103 yards coming in the fourth quarter. Both of his touchdowns gave Cincinnati a fourth quarter lead -- including a game-winning seven-yard touchdown with two minutes remaining.
For as amazing as he was in the second half, Green struggled in the first quarter covering Jake Fisher on the line of scrimmage, which led to an illegal formation and a five-yard penalty. On the ensuing play, Andy Dalton fired a fastball to Green on a wide receiver screen. The football went through Green's hands, deflecting off his body and sailing through the air, nearly picked by the Ravens' defense. Maybe he got serious/angry at this point.
ANDY DALTON: Dalton gave the Bengals' a 7-0 lead on a quarterback scramble during Cincinnati's opening drive. Dalton posted a career-high 383 yards, adding three passing touchdowns, including two fourth quarter scores that each reclaimed the lead.
Dalton's fourth quarter was amazing, completing eight passes during the final period and generating 181 yards passing, two scores (as mentioned above) and a passer rating of 154.4. Yes, most of that was during an 80-yard touchdown but the anticipation was artistic.
A.J. Green with an 80 yard touchdown!!! Bengals back in the lead, 21-17 https://t.co/oM2TWrxgUX— Josh Kirkendall (@Josh_Kirkendall) September 27, 2015
MARVIN JONES: Quietly, Jones is now the team's second-leading receiving behind A.J. Green and secured an afternoon that could only be overshadowed behind Green's monstrous outing. Regardless, Jones scored a second quarter touchdown to give Cincinnati a 14-0 lead and generated 94 yards receiving on five receptions.
ME (FOR NOT UNDERSTANDING FOOTBALL RULES): The Bengals had fourth and one from the Ravens' two-yard line with two minutes remaining in the first half. Andy Dalton faked the handoff, rolled out to the right and redirected left when his options were saturated against heavy coverage by the Ravens' defense. Tyler Eifert found single-coverage along the goalline. Dalton hit his tight end, who, with both hands gripped on the football and crossed the goalline. The officials called it in an incomplete because Eifert was "still" in the act of catching the football, and lost it as he fell to the ground. Incomplete.
Marvin Lewis agreed with the call after the game, for all of the reasons that the officials explained.
FIRST HALF TIME MANAGEMENT: Cincinnati took possession from their own 41-yard line with 33 seconds remaining in the first half. With two timeouts remaining in their luxurious pocket, Cincinnati had an ideal situation for a quick score prior to the half. Instead, Cincinnati wiped out nearly 20 seconds setting up their second play from midfield after a nine-yard Giovani Bernard reception. Why not use a timeout? By the time Cincinnati was ready to snap it, 11 seconds remained in the half and the Bengals lost an easy opportunity for a cheap halftime score.
ART OF TACKLING: With 6:37 remaining in the third quarter, Baltimore had fourth and five from midfield. Joe Flacco swung the football to Steve Smith near the first down marker. Reggie Nelson, with an opportunity to tackle Smith before (or around) the first down marker, missed. Emmanuel Lamur and George Iloka also missed their tackles, allowing Smith to score on a 50-yard touchdown, reducing Cincinnati's lead 14-7.