I don’t know how A.J. Green does it… he’s double-covered, zone-covered, and he still makes great catches and huge plays against the Ravens. Every time, every game he plays against them…
To Andy Dalton’s credit, he orchestrated a quick-release, 3-step drop within an RPO setup and completely baffled the Ravens pass rush.
Andy Dalton threw four touchdown passes in the first half — three to A.J. Green — against a defense that has bedeviled him throughout his career, and the Cincinnati Bengals held on for a 34-23 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night.
Dalton knocked the Ravens (1-1) out of playoff contention last season. On Thursday, he sliced-and-diced a defense that has more often gotten the upper hand in their AFC North rivalry, leading Cincinnati (2-0) to an early 21-point lead.
Dalton finished 24 of 42 for 265 yards, throwing four touchdown passes for only the fifth time in his career. Green set the tone with touchdown catches of 4, 28 and 7 yards on consecutive possessions, a career high.
After rallying the Ravens from 21 points down to within one score, Flacco had the ball knocked out from behind for his third and game-sealing turnover in a 34-23 loss to the Bengals.
Paul Brown Stadium has been a house of horrors for Flacco, who has lost more games there (seven) than anywhere else in the NFL. His two interceptions on Thursday night gave him 25 career interceptions against Cincinnati — which are 13 more than he has against any other team.
All the blame can’t be put on Flacco. He was under pressure throughout the game, repeatedly throwing with Bengals hanging on him and getting sacked four times. His second interception was the result of his right arm getting hit by Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap.
It won’t get any easier for the offensive line to protect Flacco, either. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley left late in the game, which forced Baltimore to move James Hurst to Flacco’s blind side and put rookie Orlando Brown Jr. at right tackle.
The defense did just as much as Flacco did to dig that early hole. After Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley was carted off the field with a knee injury, Baltimore gave up touchdowns on four straight drives.
But Flacco came up short in the end, which has been a recurring problem.
On third-and-10, Flacco was stripped from behind with 2:42 remaining, which dropped his record in Cincinnati to 3-7.
Mosley was diagnosed with a bone bruise after being carted off the field.
Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale has often called Mosley the quarterback of the defense, and Ray Lewis said Mosley is the top middle linebacker in the game. Baltimore replaced him with rookie fourth-round pick Kenny Young.
The Ravens have 10 days before playing their next game, which is against the Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium. But don’t count on Mosley being ready to play in that one.
|Passing 1st downs||20||14|
|Rushing 1st downs||5||6|
|1st downs from penalties||3||4|
|3rd down efficiency||7-16||5-13|
|4th down efficiency||2-4||0-0|
|Yards per Play||5.2||5.3|
|Yards per pass||6.1||6.3|
|Yards per rush||3.0||3.9|
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||3-3||3-4|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|