Bengals-Ravens Film Review: The Tale Of An Inconsistent Offense and A Big-Play-Prone Defense

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The Ravens received the ball to open the second half. After Ray Rice was stuffed for zero yards on two consecutive plays, Joe Flacco found Torrey Smith for 15 yards and a first down. On the following play, Rice zipped through a gaping hole in the defensive line. The linebackers were out of position and S Chris Crocker completely whiffed in his attempt to tackle Rice at the line of scrimmage. The touchdown was saved by a tackle by Adam Jones, and a defensive stand from the goalline held the Ravens to only a field goal. In the next two possessions for the Ravens, the run defense stepped up and Flacco couldn’t find any holes in the coverage. Two straight three and outs for the Ravens. Dalton was picked off on the ensuing Bengals possession, and the Ravens recovered it on the Bengals 2 yard line. The defense would have been lauded had it stopped the Ravens at the goal line again, but Rice scampered in for an easy score, thanks to good blocking by the offensive line and poor run fits by both LB Dan Skuta and LB Rey Maualuga.

The Bengals offense responded to the opening drive of the Ravens with a scoring drive of their own, this one for a touchdown. Benson was able to find more room in the running game (4, 5, and a 3-yard TD), and Dalton extended plays with his legs, finding a wide open Brian Leonard for 37 yards on one play. However, incompletions and poor running stopped the Bengals on their next drive for another three and out. RB Bernard Scott was rotated in for the next drive and immediately ran a nice 18 yard sweep, just narrowly avoiding a tackle for a loss in the backfield by LB Terrell Suggs. Two players later, Dalton was intercepted by rookie CB Jimmy Smith, who had jarred Andre Caldwell at the line of scrimmage and read Dalton’s eyes well.

Again, a big play allowed by the defense was their only major mistake. Dalton led a nice TD drive in this quarter, but didn’t help his defense by being intercepted in Bengals territory. Grade: C


Andy Dalton was picked off again by the Ravens and … what’s that? Another big play allowed by the Bengals D? Torrey Smith took the top off the defense again? Frustratingly, and seemingly inevitable after Dalton’s 3rd pick of the day. The Bengals defense bit hard on the play-action, and Smith’s unstoppable speed split the Bengals safeties for a touchdown. The Bengals toughened up after this play, allowing only one more first down the rest of the game, but the lead was too large for the offense to overcome. Overall, the defense showed up for roughly 52 of the Ravens 56 plays, but it wasn’t enough. 181 yards of the Ravens total 373 yards came on 4 plays. Mistakes by the Bengals safeties Reggie Nelson and Chris Crocker played a part in all 4 big plays.

Dalton’s third pick of the day came at the start of the third quarter, when a poorly aimed ball to Andre Caldwell instead was caught by the diving CB Lardarius Webb. Facing a 31-14 deficit with 3 interceptions already on the day, Dalton did what anyone expected a rookie QB not to do, drive 64+ yards down the field 3 times in a row against the league’s 3rd best defense. Unexplainably, improbably, the Bengals offense caught on fire in the fourth quarter. 215 yards in the fourth quarter alone. Something clicked in Dalton’s head, and he calmly drove his young team down the field any way he could. Dalton connected to Simpson, Gresham, and Caldwell easily in the first drive, going 5/5, 80 yards, and a touchdown (and that’s without a 19 yard first down negated by a holding penalty). On his second drive, Dalton continued his march down the field, but this time the passing wasn’t as easy. The Ravens tightened up their coverage and Dalton ran for two first downs instead. Gresham, Simpson, and Caldwell were all involved again, and Gresham’s 7 yard touchdown was overturned (see rant above). In his final drive, down by 7 with only 2:27 remaining in the game, Dalton connected on a long ball to Simpson again, and placed the Bengals at first and goal from the Ravens 7 yard line. But, an intentional grounding call pushed the Bengals back to the 17 yard line, even though Dalton was taken down by a horsecollar tackle on the play. Dalton’s pass protection failed him on the next two plays, whether it was sheer tiredness by the Offensive Line, a cadence problem (claimed by LT Andrew Whitworth), or the Ravens actually figured out the snap count (claimed by Ravens D-lineman Pernell McPhee). The game ended here, with a sack on 4th and goal.

If you look at only the last 14 minutes of the quarter, an A on both sides of the ball. But, the interception and touchdown on back-to-back plays killed the. 4th quarter grade: B.