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Ravens News 9/14: TNF Refocused, lessons learned and more

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Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Refocused, NFL Week 2: Cincinnati Bengals 34, Baltimore Ravens 23 - Pro Football Focus

If there was positive to take away from this game, it’s the success that Flacco had targeting his tight ends. On 11 targets, he completed eight passes for 74 yards with a touchdown and six first downs. It wasn’t fancy, but they exploited matchups against the Bengals linebackers who struggled in coverage.

Terrell Suggs still has it. The veteran pass-rusher made it a long night for Bengals right tackle Bobby Hart, and when he wasn’t beating Hart into the pocket, he was batting down passes at the line of scrimmage.

What we learned from Bengals’ victory over Ravens - Chris Wessling

Not to be outdone, Cincinnati’s defense harassed Joe Flacco throughout, racking up four sacks, 12 deflected passes, four tackles for loss and eight quarterback hits. Just when it appeared that the Ravens were entering comeback mode late in the fourth quarter, Carlos Dunlap forced in an interception by hitting Flacco’s elbow. After a John Brown touchdown brought Baltimore back into striking distance, safety Shawn Williams popped Flacco from behind, forcing a fumble that effectively extinguished any hopes of overtime.

Playing without suspended shutdown corner Jimmy Smith, the Ravens struggled to contain Green in the first half, allowing three scores in 17 minutes. Credit the Bengals for moving Green around the formation, allowing him to do most of his damage out of the slot. With a year to install Bill Lazor’s playbook in addition to an overhauled offensive line and a healthy receiving corps, Cincinnati’s offense is one of the league’s most improved.

The Breakdown: Five Thoughts on Ravens vs. Bengals - John Eisenberg

After the undefeated preseason and 44-point win in Week 1, the 2018 season was beginning to feel like a fantasyland for the Ravens. But a dose of reality is inevitable in the NFL, and it came furiously early in this game. Shaken by the loss of C.J. Mosley to an injury, the Ravens’ defense was mistake-prone, a step (or two) slow and unable to make stops. The offense also was mistake-prone, with an early Joe Flacco interception setting the tone. Early in the second quarter, the Bengals were up by three touchdowns and it seemed the rout was on. To the Ravens’ credit, they started moving the ball on offense, making stops on defense and rallied, cutting the margin to five points in the fourth quarter – an impressive surge on the road.