Well I was definitely wrong about that one. The Bengals started quick scoring 14 points in the first and second quarter and were in control of the game throughout. Baltimore cut it to 5 but the Bengals added two late field goals to preserve the win. I thought there was a chance for Baltimore to complete the comeback. The Ravens appeared to make a stop on 3rd and 2 with 8:08 remaining which would have given them the ball with a chance to take the lead. Instead they were called for defensive holding and the Bengals ended up turning that drive into a field goal. On the Ravens next drive the Bengals pass rush got to Joe Flacco on third down which ended up in a strip sack and recovered fumble. The Bengals added another field goal on their next drive to put the game out of reach.
The Ravens offense looked nowhere near as good as they did last week. Joe Flacco threw an interception on the Ravens second drive which the Bengals turned into a TD on their next drive to put the Ravens in a hole early. The Ravens offense looked much more like last year than they did in week 1. The offense stalled when they got into the Bengals side of the field and they turned the ball over on downs on two separate occasions. The defense was ok. Their downfall was 3rd down conversions. AJ Green’s second TD came on a 3rd and 2 where Dalton threw the ball into a crowd and AJ Green somehow came up with it and took it 32 yards for a TD. His next TD came on a 3rd and goal, after the Ravens had just gotten a stop on 3rd and 13 but a penalty gave the Bengals a first down. This happened again later in the game referenced above when the Ravens would have had a chance to take the lead. The Ravens are still employing a running back by committee but it is clear that Alex Collins is their best back. I hated when they would bring Buck Allen in. Also hated when they would bring in Lamar Jackson. Those type of gadget plays take Joe Flacco and the offense completely out of rhythm. Once they come into the game the defense knows something is coming. It is very easy to prepare for. One play in particular the entire defense crashed on Jackson on what looked to be a reverse and it just ended up in a loss of yards. I think Jackson or even RG3 would be a nice spark for this offense if they were behind center full time. Switching out QBs just never really works. In the second half the defense played much better and gave the Ravens a chance to come back. They gave up only 2 field goals but the second field goal was more of a result of field position after a turnover and not the defense. Their secondary will be glad to have Jimmy Smith back after his suspension. It may be good for him to miss the first four weeks to try to stay healthy for the rest of the year. Also CJ Mosley only having a bone bruise is huge for both the Ravens and Mosley who is in a contract year.
The Bengals offense looked great in the first half. They used a lot of misdirection to get people open down the field and open up holes for their running backs. Bill Lazor is known for being a very prepared offensive coordinator and coming out to quick starts. That happened today with the Benglas putting up 28 points in the first half. For as good as Lazor is in the first half, he is equally not good in the second half. Routinely they Bengals offense does not make many halftime adjustments and their offense slows down as the game goes on. This happened last night as the Ravens were able to climb back into the game. Similarly to last week, the Bengals never put the game away until getting a late turnover. This will continue to be a problem with the Bengals going forward as it has been since Lazor took over as offensive coordinator. What the Bengals may be however is the team you can bet the over on every week. The public has been all over the Bengals as a dark horse to win the AFC North since the pre-season and this game was a party for those people. An early win against a division opponent for sole possession of first place with the Steelers getting a tie. If you’re a fan of the Bengals enjoy it while you can. I am still not sold on them and I will probably stay away from them as their schedule gets tougher.
I still think the Ravens are a more talented team than the Bengals and should bounce back next week against the Broncos. They will come into Baltimore for their first road game. I’m expecting the Broncos to win this week and for the line to be somewhere around a pick em or the Ravens slightly favored with home field. I think thats a perfect spot to pick them for a bounce back game. The Bengals go into Carolina next week who is currently dealing with a hurricane (thoughts and prayers to all those effected). I think Carolina will win this week but it will be interesting what the oddsmakers choose for a line next week.