USA TODAY Sports
The Baltimore Ravens back-ups played most of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals in what was mostly an exhibition game but they made it competitive until the end. Bengals win 23-17
Well, it was a short day for quarterback Joe Flacco and most of the Ravens starters as they only played two very uninspired series of football. The starters were unable to get anything done in their time on the field, however when Tyrod Taylor and the second stringers came in they produced the games first touchdown on their very first series, against the Bengals starting defense no less.
The Ravens did however suffer an injury to starting fullback Vonta Leach in the limited time he did play which brings about the old question of why start any of them at all?
For the first time since the Ravens have relied on Taylor as the main back up to Flacco he has gotten some real in game playing time in the regular season and , for the most part he played very well. Taylor showed impressive pocket presence and he also showed the elite speed that made him a star in college. With Taylor in the game Baltimore ran a mix of the option offense primarily but they did give him a few chances to drop back as a pocket passer, in which he didn't look so good.
The Ravens were plagued with bad field position all game and it really came back to bite them in the butt when Taylor threw an interception to defensive end Carlos Dunlap who promptly returned it about 20 yards for a touchdown to all but put the game out of reach for Baltimore and seal the win for Cincinnati. A rookie mistake by a quarterback that just hasn't had enough in-game playing time.The Ravens finally fell to the Bengals 23-17 in a game they easily could have won had the ball bounced their way a few times.
Rookie running back Bernard Pierce looked good again as he continues to impress as the back-up to Ray Rice. He is the best back up we have had for Rice since he has been here in my opinion. If the Ravens do happen to make a deep playoff run I believe Pierce will be an integral part of the team. My heart almost skipped a beat when he walked off the field with what looked to be an ankle injury. Luckily he was back on the field in the next series. Pierce has the talent to start in the NFL and has shown explosiveness as well.
Not much more to say. The Colts beat the struggling Texans and look to be getting better and better each week. The Ravens may have their hands full with Chuck Pagano's squad but if they play their game they should be able to make it to the next round. It's probably a good thing the team fired Cam Cameron when they did because Pagano would have had a huge advantage in knowing the Ravens offense.
So, no real big surprises but I wish the starters had shown a little more with their time on the field but why show anything in a meaningless game, I guess. Playoffs here we come for the fifth straight year!!! Would you call that a dynasty yet? Maybe if you throw a Super Bowl in there too...