Bengals and Steelers Earn Divisional Wins
Sep 7, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) celebrates his last touchdown pass with tackle Andrew Whitworth (77) against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
The Cincinnati Bengals earned the biggest win of the AFC North in week one after winning their first game in Baltimore during the Andy Dalton era, 23-16. The defense played well largely as the offense was effective, but unable to finish drives in the end zone. The Bengals lone touchdown on the day was scored via a 77-yard TD pass from Dalton to Green following an 80-yard TD by Steve Smith of the Ravens.
The Steelers escaped with a win at home versus the Browns when kicker Shaun Suisham converted a 41-yard field goal as time expired ending the game 30-27. It was an unlikely shootout as the Browns were assumed to possess an undermanned offense with Josh Gordon missing the game due to suspension. The Steelers got big days from Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, and Markus Wheaton.
The Bengals didn’t run the ball as effectively as they would’ve liked, but were able to lean on A.J. Green and spread the ball around though the air, effectively taking advantage of Baltimore’s vulnerable secondary. Second year tight end Tyler Eifert started the game strong with three catches for 37 yards in the first quarter, but suffered a dislocated elbow.
Hopefully Eifert will not miss a significant amount of time, but if he does, the Bengals could always use their short-term I.R. tag on him and he could return six weeks later.
The Bengals were able to earn the biggest win of the week within the AFC North while also conquering the M&T Bank Stadium hurdle. This kind of win can set the tone for the year while giving them a huge leg up in the division.
Next week the Bengals play the Falcons in their home opener. The Falcons earned a huge win of their now by defeating a divisional rival of their own in the New Orleans Saints. The Falcons offense looked great, so the Bengals defense will need to come with their “A” game once more. Defensive captain Vontaze Burfict suffered a concussion in the game, so hopefully he can heal up in time for next week’s game.
The Ravens get a shot to redeem themselves at home on Thursday as the Steelers visit Baltimore. If the Ravens do indeed redeem themselves, the Bengals will have the opportunity to earn themselves an early season outright lead in the division.