Even though the Bengals suffered a tough loss at the hands of the Houston Texans, on Wild Card weekend, to end their 2011 season, the team and its fans have a lot to look forward to heading into the 2012 season. 2011 showed the emergence of rookies A.J. Green (WR) and Andy Dalton (QB). The duo combined for six touchdowns while leading the Bengals to a 9-7 record.
To start the 2012 season the Bengals had to head to Baltimore to face the Ravens on Monday Night Football. The Ravens had lost in the AFC Championship game to the New England Patriots to end their 2011 season. So both teams had high hopes heading into the new season. The game gets off to an explosive start as Joe Flacco completes a big pass to Torrey Smith for 52 yards down to the Bengals 27 yard line. The defense is able to settle down and hold the Ravens to a field goal after a big sack on 3rd down from Geno Atkins. After a quick three and out from the offense, the defense was back on the field. Baltimore takes the ball down the field in twelve plays, and gets a touchdown on a Ray Rice seven yard run. Ravens go up 10-0.
On their next possession the Bengals are able to go 76 yards on 13 plays and get a 34 yard field goal from Mike Nugent, making the score 10-3 Ravens. A few key plays on the drive are a nineteen yard pass to A.J. Green, a Ravens offside penalty on 3rd down, Green-Ellis picks up thirteen yards on 3rd down, and a quarterback sneak picking up five yards on 3rd and one. The Ravens do not waste any time once they get the ball back, it takes only five plays to go eighty-two yards, ending with the Flacco to Boldin 34 yard touchdown pass. Baltimore is now winning 17-3. The teams exchange punts before Cincinnati is able to march down the field and get back into the game. On the second play of the drive Dalton hits Andrew Hawkins for 27 yards up to their 46 yard line. Before the two minute warning, Green-Ellis goes for four yards on 4th and one, keeping the drive alive. Five plays later Green-Ellis runs in a touchdown from six yards out bringing the Bengals within a touchdown. Baltimore kneels on the ball to end the first half up 17-10. The Bengals will receive the ball to start the second half.