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Bengals remain calm, cool, collected in fourth quarter rally to seal win over Ravens

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The Bengals collectively maintained their composure to make a fourth quarter comeback to beat the Ravens on Sunday.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

After the Bengals led 14-0 heading into halftime in Baltimore, things began to change in the second half. The Baltimore defense appeared to come out rejuvenated and seemed to have an answer to what the Bengals' offense was doing as the third quarter began.

In the third quarter, Baltimore had six first downs compared to the Bengals' two, had a 75 percent third down efficiency, compared to the Bengals' 50 percent and generated 154 yards compared to the Bengals' 64. Dalton also had his first interception of the year, and, it was in the endzone. At the end of the third quarter, the score was 14-7.

As the fourth quarter began, Baltimore quickly scored a field goal to bring the score to 14-10. The Bengals' first possession of the quarter ended in a punt, as did the Ravens' and when the Bengals' offense took the field again, Andy Dalton was sacked, resulting in the ball being fumbled and recovered by C.J. Mosley who scored a touchdown, giving Baltimore their first lead of the game. In turn, the Bengals trailed for the first time during the 2015 season.

While some doubters of Andy Dalton and the Bengals began to panic, the Bengals themselves did not. Andy Dalton returned to the field and all it took was one snap to regain the lead, an 80-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green."It was one of those plays that we had designed, and I knew the way they lined up, I thought A.J. (Green) would be open," Dalton said after the game. "Our guys did a great job against the blitz, and he ran a great route. He made a few guys miss, and he took it in. I’m really happy for our guys, especially up front."

Green acknowledged that he wasn't alone in making the play happen. "I started the play; I was in a slot position, so they couldn’t jam me," he said. " I knew I had a safety on me, and he gave me a big cushion. It was a great ball by Andy. I made a move, broke a tackle, and I broke away into the open. It was a big play for us."

But, that play wasn't the end of the game. The Ravens' offense took the field again and the possession resulted in a 16-yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith, giving the Ravens the lead once again with a score of 24-21.

But still, the Bengals weren't worried. "That was the first time we were down all year," Domata Peko said. "We just had to keep our composure and we did." His teammates agreed.

"If you would have looked into our huddle, our faces all said, ‘We’re going to get this,’" Marvin Jones said.

"Of course we were upset, but we knew what we had to do," said Sanu. "You can’t drop your head. We knew there was time on the clock and that we had to go make plays."

While the Bengals of the past may have proceeded to make consecutive mistakes and lose their chance to clinch the game, the 2015 Bengals squad has the experience to get back on the field and make magic happen. As Dalton returned to the field, he threw passes to Green, Gio Bernard, Sanu, Jones and ultimately a seven-yard touchdown to Green to give the Bengals the lead once again with a score of 28-24. The Bengals' defense came onto the field and caused three incomplete passes before the Bengals' offense returned to run out the clock.

"I was next to (Director of Player Relations) Eric Ball on the sidelines because we only had two receivers out there," Sanu said via Bengals.com. "He told me what the play was and said, ‘Watch. In about two minutes it’s about to get real quiet.’ It sure did. A.J. made a phenomenal play. (Eric) came running over and said, ‘I told you! I told you!’ It was pretty cool."

It wasn't just a few players, the Bengals collectively appeared to maintain their cool. Via ESPN:

"We didn't bat an eye," receiver Marvin Jones said. "We were all calm. We all knew we were going to make plays. We told Andy, 'We know you're going to put it there and you know we're going to catch it.""

Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick echoed those sentiments: "Never at one time did I feel like we were going to lose this game."

"It’s not our first rodeo," Green said. "We were here last year in the same situation and came out with the ‘W.’ We didn’t flinch."

If the Bengals continue to maintain this type of composure when they're behind, they may prove to be real contenders to make a deep playoff run this season. Funnily enough, at the beginning of the CBS broadcast of the game, it was mentioned that Joe Flaccos said the Bengals don't play well from behind. It might not have been the best choice of words for the Ravens' quarterback who's likely regretting making that comment.

"Cool, calm, collected. From Andy to all of us," Jones said. "We just had to make plays and we can do that. When you have that, that eliminates the fear and anxiety.