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Baltimore Ravens vs Cincinnati Bengals game recap, highlights, winners/losers and notes

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Dressed in all-black and facing the banged up Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens looked to rebound from their Week 11 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. In true Ravens fashion, another nail biting finish.

Start of Game

The Ravens started with possession of the ball and used a hurry up offense to undergo an eleven play, 75 yard drive. Running back Kenneth Dixon combined to pick up 41 of those 75 yards, highlighted by a 16 yard catch and run on a screen pass to Kenneth Dixon outside the numbers. Once inside the Cincinnati red zone, Flacco lobbed a pass to Breshad Perriman in the back of the end zone, who hauled in his second touchdown on the year on a spectacular catch.

7-0 Ravens

The defense kept the momentum in Baltimore’s favor, quickly shutting down the Bengals offense, despite being aided by a holding call on Bengals TE Tyler Eifert.

Devin Hester produced one of his best punt returns of the season, and set the Ravens up with good field position. On a third-and-seven play from the Bengals 33 yards line, Joe Flacco found Kamar Aiken over the middle for a 19 yard gain. The Ravens drive would stall from there, as the Bengals sacked Flacco on third-and-five from the Bengals five yard line. In addition to the sack, the Ravens were moved back from a questionable unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (shown in the below tweet). Reliable Justin Tucker would come on to drill the ensuing 52 yard field goal, extending the Ravens lead.

10-0 Ravens

The Bengals respond with their first sustained drive. Andy Dalton found himself to be very lucky as Eric Weddle dropped what seemed to be a sure interception. Dalton would capitalize and methodically moved the ball down the field, finding various holes in the Ravens still depleted secondary, moving inside the red zone as the first quarter came to a close.

Start of Second Quarter

The Bengals would find themselves on the doorstep of the end zone. But the number two ranked total defense coming in to Week 12 would make a stand, with Tavon Young and Shareece Wright providing stellar coverage. Young would record a pass breakup on a pass intended for Eifert. Mike Nugent would come on to drill the 23 yard field goal, getting the Bengals on the board for the first time today.

10-3 Ravens

Devin Hester returned the ensuing kickoff to the Baltimore 23 yard line, but the offense would give it right back to the Bengals, with great field positioning. On the first play from scrimmage of the drive, Flacco’s pass, intended for Dennis Pitta, was deflected and knocked up into the air by Carlos Dunlap of the Bengals. The tipped pass fell right into the hands of LB Rey Maualuga, who returned the pick to the Ravens 23 yard line.

The defense would make up for the interception however. Andy Dalton was not able to haul in a slightly high snap, and the ball fell to the turf. LB Elvis Dumervil, who is finally making his return, collapsed on the fumble, giving the ball back to the Ravens offense.

The Ravens kicked off their ensuing drive a with a bang, in the form of a strong Terrance West run where the running back carried multiple Bengals to pick up extra yards on his 16 yard carry. Flacco would immediately look deep to Breshad Perriman, who would drop the pass. Perriman had to dive at full extension to make a play, but was not able to haul in the pass, despite having both hands on the ball. Flacco would scramble for a first down on a third-and-ten later in the drive, but still struggled with the slide. The drive would stall near midfield, but Kamar Aiken would down the ensuing punt inside the Bengals’ 10 yard line, setting up the Bengals with poor field positioning.

The defense would get the Bengals off the field in three plays. After being ruled a first down, the Ravens would challenge the spot on a Dalton pass to James Wright. A timeout called by the Bengals would give the Ravens a chance to further look at the play, and John Harbaugh made the decision to challenge the play. The challenge was successful, and the defense would add to their staggering count of three-and-outs.

After exchanging a few punts, the Ravens offense would attempt to run the two minute drill. The drive would stall on the Bengals half of the field. Justin Tucker would come on to attempt a 57 yard field goal. Guess what? He made it. Shocking right?

13-3 Ravens

Zach Orr and the defense would give the Ravens offense one more chance to score before the half, finishing off another forced three-and-out stopping Rex Burkhead behind the line of scrimmage for a two yard loss.

The offense got the ball to the Cincinati 36, and brought on Justin Tucker to attempt a 54 yard field goal. Cincinnati tried to ice him. Yeah, that didn’t work.

16-3 Ravens

End of First Half

First Half Notes

Offense - The offense had a strong half. Consistently moving the ball across midfield, which they failed to against the Cowboys last week. They however consistently stalled on the Bengals have of the field. It turned out to not be a problem, because the Ravens have the best kicker in the NFL.

Defense - The Bengals look totally out of sync, and its due to the strong play of the defense. Dalton is 9/17 for 92 yards in the first half, and is lucky to not have thrown an interception. The running backs haven’t bailed hm out, as the defense has shut them down to a total of 23 yards rushing.

Special Teams - Justin Tucker.

First Half Winners

  • Middle linebackers - Orr has been a tackling machine in the first half. Orr has 4 tackles in the first half. Mosley doesn’t have any tackles, but a key pass breakup on a third down.
  • Justin Tucker - Justin Tucker continues to be an absolute beast. Three 50+ yard field goals in one half. Still hasn’t missed this season. Best kicker in the NFL.
  • Elvis Dumervil - Dumervil came back from injury and provided a huge fumble recovery when the Bengals were threatening to score, and take the momentum.

First Half Losers

  • Eric Weddle - Weddle dropped an easy interception. The Bengals capitalized on his mistake, and would nail a field goal on that drive. Make the play, and the Bengals are scoreless in the first half.

Start of Second Half

The teams exchanged punts to begin the second half, before the Bengals drove down the field to score their first touchdown of the day. Despite a spectacular strip sack by Terrell Suggs, the Bengals kept the ball and continued down the field. Tyler Eifert beat C.J. Mosley in the back of the end zone on third and goal, eating into the Ravens lead. Bengals kicker Mike Nugent would miss the ensuing extra point, his third in his last two games.

16-9 Ravens

The offense would start at the Bengals 23 after Devin Hester’s return of the ensuing kickoff, and undergo a drive than ate seven minutes off the clock. The Ravens moved the ball across midfield, or, in other words, into Tucker’s range. The Ravens were not able to convert a third-and-nine from the Bengals 43, as the third quarter expired.

Start of Fourth Quarter

Harbaugh elected to keep Tucker off the field and go for it. Kenneth Dixon would rush for 8 yards, picking up the first. The Ravens would get into another fourth down, and this time, Tucker only had to make a 36 yard field goal. Come on, that’s too easy.

19-9 Ravens

The Ravens defense would hold firm, forcing a punt on the Bengals fifth play from scrimmage of the drive. The Ravens were aided by a picked up flag for pass interference that would have likely been called on Tavon Young.

Upon doing nothing on offense, the Ravens gave the ball back to the Bengals ran off a nine play drive. Terrell Suggs second strip sack landed back in the arms of the Bengals. A crucial penalty on Albert McClellan extended the Bengals drive despite key pass breakup by Tavon Young. The defense would force another third down, and tested Young again. Young passed again, breaking up another pass, and this time, getting the Bengals off the field. Nugent would drain a 36 yard field goal.

19-12 Ravens

The Raven offense was unable to do anything productive, going three-and-out, and only eating just 1:43 off the clock. Sam Koch salvaged the failures with a 63 yard punt.

The Bengals now got the chance to drive down the field to win the game with a touchdown and two point conversion. Talk about nerve racking. The Bengals would go on a 13 play 60 yard drive. Despite four passes swatted down, and forcing a fourth down, the Ravens were not able to get the Bengals off the field. Finally, Elvis Dumervil got to Dalton, and knocked the ball out. This time, Lawrene Guy fell on it, and gave the Ravens the ball back with less then 90 seconds in the game.

The Ravens offense sure made it interesting however. The Ravens were forced into a fourth down, but John Harbaugh took a play out of the history books. At the end of Super Bowl 47, Sam Koch ran around in the back of the end zone in an attempt to eat the rest of the time off the clock and then take a safety. The Ravens used the same play here, and this time, Tucker ate all the time off the clock, and the Ravens thus won the game, despite giving up the safety.

14-19 Ravens

End of Game - Ravens Win: 19-14

Second Half Notes

Offense - See “Second Half Losers”

Defense - The defense bent, but it didn’t break. It allowed the Bengals to get close to scoring on its final drive, but came through in the clutch. The defense only allowed one touchdown in the game, and only 64 rushing yards.

Special Teams - Sam Koch provided some huge plays, including a 63 yard punt, as well as the last play of the game where he ran around long enough to burn the remainder of the clock.

Second Half Winners

Terrell Suggs - Suggs had two strip sacks in the second half. Despite the Ravens not recovering either of them, Suggs was a key cog in the Ravens pass rush today, per normal, and provided his typical leadership and emotion on defense.

Tavon Young - Young had two key third down pass breakups in the fourth quarter, despite one not counting due to a penalty on Albert McClellan. Young continues to impress, and continues to prove why he deserves a spot in the starting lineup for the long term.

Matt Judon - Judon had two of the Ravens four blocks on the Bengals final drive on the game. Like Young, Judon is further proving to be a rookie force, one of the highlights of the Ravens strong 2016 rookie class.

Elvis Dumervil/Lawrence Guy - Dumervil provided the strip and Guy recovered the fumble. This play on the Bengals final drive of the game essentially gave the Ravens the win.

Second Half Losers

Penalties - This needs to stop. The Ravens had yet another penalty filled game, and many of them came at really, really bad times.

C.J. Mosley - Mosley was not able to make some big plays when the Ravens needed them. Mosley allowed Eifert to get open for the Bengals only touchdown of the game. Mosley also was not able to break up a pass on the Bengals fourth down conversion late in the game, a pass he easily could have gotten a hand on.

The Offense - The offense continues to really struggle. Whenever it mattered, the Ravens offense seemingly never came through. Without Justin Tucker, this game would not have had the same outcome.