Ravens touchdown passes came early, but needed in 20-17 win

Torrey Smith caught one of the two Ravens' touchdowns on Sunday. - Patrick Smith

Here's a closer look at Baltimore's two first-half touchdowns against Cincinnati.

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Touchdowns have been hard to come by at times this year.

The Ravens were able to come up with two of them in the first half of Sunday's 20-17 overtime win against the Bengals.

Here's a look at both plays — touchdowns to Torrey Smith and Dallas Clark.

1) 1-yard pass to Clark

It was third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, with runs to Ray Rice and Vonta Leach unable to convert on the previous two plays. The Ravens lined up in a goal line formation with Haloti Ngata in the game for added muscle. The plan was to show run but execute a pass off of play-action.

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Flacco then takes the snap and fakes the hand-off to Rice, as you see below.

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Look at Clark, circled in yellow. I couldn't tell if he goes to his knees on purpose to sell the fake or if he actually fell while trying to block. That'll be something for you to decide as well. But, hey, it worked. At first, Clark is able to sell himself as a blocker, with the interior defense crashing in on Rice.

The one Bengals' defender that catches Clark as a receiver is Chris Crocker. Crocker then grabs Clark as he gets up to run as a receiver. Crocker was flagged for a defensive holding penalty as a result.

Flaccotoclark3

Flacco ran all the way to the right sideline before finding Clark in the back of the end zone. There was a bit of improvisation at this point. Clark ran to the edge of the end zone before cutting back against the grain.

In that quick second that Clark cut back, Flacco was able to rifle him a pass without Bengals defenders getting their hands on it.

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There's Clark in the back of the end zone with a touchdown. If the Ravens fail to score one here, they either settle for the field goal or go for it on fourth down. In hindsight, being able to score a touchdown on this third down play was bigger after the fact than it may have seemed at the time.

2) 7-yard touchdown to Smith

This scoring moment came just two plays after James Ihedigbo picked off an Andy Dalton pass and ran it back to the Cincinnati 22, with 11 more yards being tacked on after a Bengals personal foul penalty was called.

At the 7-yard line, the Ravens lined up with Torrey Smith in the slot, showcasing the versatility he's been able to bring to this year's offense.

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You'd think the Bengals would line up on Smith, given how dangerous he's been as a receiver. As you see Ray Rice is split out wide with the cornerback looking in. The Bengals appear to be in zone coverage, as you'll see in the next frame.

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Smith slips by the zone defenders trying to read Flacco's eyes. There's a nice open area in the middle of the field that Smith runs toward.

Given the Bengals' are trying to read where Flacco wants to go with the ball, you'd think Smith wouldn't have that kind of space. Plus, Flacco looks at him the entire way.

Flaccototorrey3

In the NFL, Smith is open by a decent margin even though it doesn't seem like it. Flacco placed the ball high, making Smith the only one with a chance to catch the ball. Flacco delivers a perfect toss in the throwing lane.

And more spectacularly, Smith is able to jump up, snag the catch and hold on to it after taking a hit.

These two plays came early, which helped give the Ravens a much-needed win to cut Cincinnati's AFC North lead to just 1.5 games.

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