Unfortunately for Cincinnati, they didn’t do anything with the football yet again in the second half. Flacco and the Ravens offense carved up the Bengals’ seemingly-tired defense, as Flacco lofted a touchdown pass to John Brown. Baltimore didn’t convert the two-point conversion try, though they cut the lead to 28-23.
After forcing a Ravens punt, Cincinnati took over and rode Mixon to points once again. The Bengals got into chip-shot distance for Randy Bullock and he hit the field goal to give the Bengals another eight-point lead.
On the ensuing drive, Cincinnati’s defense forced a third-and-10. Flacco dropped back and was hit by Williams and forced a fumble that was recovered by Jordan Willis. The play got Cincinnati into scoring range and Bullock converted another clutch field goal to give Cincinnati a 34-23 lead.
Even though the Bengals had the game in hand, a couple of starters ended up getting nicked up. Dre Kirkpatrick left with what looked like either a hamstring and/or cramping issue, while Williams also left the secondary.
Cincinnati held on to the lead for good and defeated the Ravens, 34-23.
The Bengals started the second half in a lull, going three-and-out after an Alex Redmond holding penalty. Baltimore moved the ball a little bit, but stalled out. Thankfully for them, they have Justin Tucker as their kicker and he nailed a 55-yard attempt to cut the Bengals’ lead a little more to 28-17.
A stalemate of drives exchanged from both teams, but casualties were again being felt. Mixon left the contest for the second time with a knee issue, as he was seen pacing the sideline.
Meanwhile, the Ravens were on the move after being pinned at their own 7-yard line. After a few nice plays, Carlos Dunlap applied pressure and hit Flacco’s arm to cause an interception by Shawn Williams.
On a third-and-13, the Bengals seemed to finally have been stopped by the Ravens’ defense, but Terrell Suggs was called for a critical hands-to-the-face penalty for an automatic first down. Green capped off the drive with a hat trick and his third touchdown in one and a half quarters.
It looked like Cincinnati’s defense once again had the Ravens offense pinned against a corner, but Flacco lofted a prayer of a pass to John Brown, who came down with the ball on a huge gain. On third-and-five, Darqueze Dennard was called for a pass interference penalty and Javorius Allen shot in for a one-yard touchdown for a 21-7 Bengals lead.
Even after taking a jab from the Baltimore offense, Cincinnati’s crew went back to work. Tyler Boyd was excellent on the drive and capped it off with a touchdown catch on third-and-goal that was very reminiscent of his game-winner against the Ravens in Week 17 last year. With less than three minutes to play, Cincinnati had a 28-7 lead.
Both teams exchanged scoreless drives, but the Ravens received the ball and went to work in the two-minute drill. A more-than-questionable 30-yard pass interference penalty put the Ravens in scoring territory.
Flacco hit rookie Mark Andrews for a one-yard touchdown score to get the game to 28-14 on a one-yard pass.
It was a pretty uneventful first series for each team on Thursday night, with both squads showing some signs of nervousness. A.J. Green exuded some “butterfingers”, while Joe Flacco threw an interception to rookie Jessie Bates to put the Bengals in business for a scoring drive.
Green atoned for some errors a few plays later, as Andy Dalton hit him in the back of the end zone for a score. The Bengals took a 7-0 lead with a little over 10 minutes left in the first quarter.
The Bengals defense held strong against the Ravens offense, getting the ball back at their own 20-yard line. A 29-yard reception by C.J. Uzomah and two nice plays from Giovani Bernard got Cincinnati back into scoring range.
On a third-and-2, Dalton dropped back and hit Green in triple coverage. The Pro Bowl wideout broke through many would be tacklers and headed into the end zone, giving the Bengals a 14-0 lead with about six and a half minutes left in the opening quarter.
Baltimore’s offense took the field on the ensuing drive, but went three-and-out. Cincinnati wasted no time in moving down the field once again, thanks to a couple of nice runs by Mixon and a 27-yard catch by Tyler Boyd.
As the first quarter concluded, the Bengals were in scoring position on third down once again.
Before kickoff, the Bengals unveiled their inactive players. Some were surprising on this list, while others were predictable. The inactive Bengals players were:
- WR Cody Core
- OL Cedric Ogbuehi
- WR Auden Tate
- DT Josh Tupou
- LB Preston Brown
- OL Christian Westerman
- RB Mark Walton
Brown was nursing an ankle injury he suffered against the Colts and may have played, if this wasn’t on a short week. Because of his inactive status, Jefferson gets called up after being sidelined last week.
The good news is history seems to be on the Bengals’ side in this Thursday Night Football matchup in Week 2. Cincinnati has won seven of the last nine games against Baltimore, but the dreaded primetime game-time slot that the Bengals struggle with could even the playing field.
The Ravens are coming off a laughable game against the Bills to open the season. They easily strolled to a 47-3 victory in a game that never felt like Bills got out of preseason mode. Then again, the Ravens have a habit of starting out the season strong. Last year, they shut out the Bengals 20-0 in a game Andy Dalton probably doesn’t remember all that well after getting sacked five times.
This is a new Bengals team, though. They are fresh off a come from behind win against the Colts. After Indianapolis took a 23-10 lead the Bengals responded with 24 straight points, which included an 83-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by safety Clayton Fejedelem to seal the game.
Joe Mixon was one of the biggest stars as he surpassed 100 yards from scrimmage while also adding a touchdown. He looked unstoppable most of the day, and the is some the Bengals will hope he can repeat Thursday night.
How to watch Thursday Night Football
Game: Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) vs Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
Date/Time: Sep. 13th, 2018 at 8:20 p.m. EST
Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Series Leader: Series tied at 22-22
Streak: The Bengals have won seven of the last nine.
Coaches vs. Opponent: Marvin Lewis: (18-12) . John Harbaugh (9-11)
TV Broadcast: The game will air nationally on NFL Network and is produced by FOX-TV. In Cincinnati, it also will be carried by WKRC-TV (CBS Ch. 12). Broadcasters are Joe Buck (play-by-play), Troy Aikman (analyst), Erin Andrews (sideline reporter), Kristina Pink (sideline reporter) and Mike Pereira (rules analyst).
Radio Broadcast: The game will air on the Bengals Radio Network, led by Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7). Broadcasters are Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (color analyst).
Online Stream: Fubo TV
Replay: NFL Gamepass
SB Nation Ravens site: Baltimore Beatdown
Weather: Mid 70’s, partly cloudy [NFL weather]
Odds: Ravens, -1.5 [Odds Shark]
TV coverage map (via 506sports.com)