Hope did arrive, on the backs of an improved Flacco and a resilient but depleted defense, both sparking a Ravens rally. The Bengals defense will need to be physical and force turnovers if they want to take down their division foe and get off to an impressive 2-0 start to the 2018 season.
The regular season is officially one week old, and the Cincinnati Bengals are leading the AFC North outright.
It was the same days earlier against the Colts, when it appeared they were about to give up a go-ahead score late in the game. A year ago in the season opener at Cincinnati, the Ravens picked off Dalton four times, matching his career high, and gave Cincinnati its first opening shutout in club history 20-0. They already can count Fejedelem's and Williams' plays as signs of a team that possesses a killer instinct.
The Ravens never got out of the hole Green created for them. The Ravens shut out the Bengals 20-0 when the two teams played last season. Andy Dalton hit Tyler Boyd for the game-winning 49-yard touchdown on 4th and 12 to stun the crowd at M&T Bank Stadium. A crucial third-down penalty on cornerback Tavon Young averted a three-and-out for Cincinnati, and it marched downfield with much of the precision it had earlier. Quarterback Joe Flacco is now in his 11th National Football League season and was feeling a little pressure, with many believing that after a poor 2017 he should be benched and replaced by Lamar Jackson. A field goal by Randy Bullock extended the Bengals' lead to eight with just under three minutes remaining. Dixon did manage to score a rushing touchdown along with fellow Raven running backs, Alex Collins and Javorius Allen. But they squandered chance after chance to make the fourth quarter more manageable.
Geno Atkins (two sacks, four QB hits) repeatedly hounded Flacco, who completed 32 of 55 passes for 376 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions while struggling with his accuracy. After a three-and-out against the Mosley-led defense, he found the Mosley-less defense to be as different as night and day. Dalton did have an interception earlier on in the game that was nearly taken back for a touchdown but he was able to make a good tackle on the defender to prevent him from scoring and recovered nicely for the remainder of the game. Those three touchdown receptions went for 43 yards, and it seemed like Green was just getting started against a Ravens defense fighting for answers.
The Bengals then got the ball back quickly, and Andy Dalton - standing up the blitz - delivered a pass over the middle to Green, who ripped through Young for his second score. The Bengals offensive line has improved but look for the Ravens to try to take advantage of Bengals right tackle Bobby Hart, who was awful in the Bengals week one win over the Colts.
Cincinnati built its 21-point lead by piling up 151 yards and 11 first downs.
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