Baltimore Ravens Lose To Cincinnati Bengals 23-16


Sep 7, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) throws as Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) applies pressure during the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday’s season opener saw the Baltimore Ravens lose to the Cincinnati Bengals, 23-16 after the Raven’s offense stalled out of the gate.  The Ravens couldn’t get anything going on offense until nearly the second half while the Bengals racked up five field goals to jump out to an early 15-0 lead.  The Raven’s wide receivers committed several drops, while Steve Smith had four himself.

The Ravens never led until there was 5:46 left on the clock in the 4th quarter, when Joe Flacco connected with Smith for an 80 yard touchdown pass.  The Ravens missed on a two point conversion, making the score 16-15 following Justin Forsett’s touchdown run midway through the 3rd quarter.  Exactly 48 seconds later, Andy Dalton found wide receiver A.J. Green, who caught a bobbling 77 yard touchdown while burning Chykie Brown.  The Bengals converted on their two point conversion to make it a 7 point game.

The Ravens offense proceeded to drive down the field, but the Bengals had back to back sacks on Joe Flacco in Cincinnati territory to effectively end the game.  Flacco was under duress through the entire game as the Bengals racked up 3 total sacks, numerous QB hits and hurries, and four tackles for loss.  The Raven’s defense, on the other hand, had zero sacks and one tackle for loss.

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For some reason, the Ravens decided to come out throwing the ball even when it wasn’t working.  Joe Flacco had an outrageous 62 pass attempts, connecting on 25 of them for 345 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Starting running back Bernard Pierce was benched after turning the ball over on a fumble and managing only 6 carries for 14 yards.  Justin Forsett took his place and proceeded to rush 11 times for 70 yards (6.4 average).  This, in spite of the fact that the Ravens were never down more than two scores.

Let’s hope that the Ravens watch the film on this one and realize that abandoning the run was their biggest mistake in this matchup.  While much of Joe Flacco’s woes were caused by drops and bad routes by his wide receivers, there is no excuse for throwing so much.  The Ravens could have easily settled down and stuck to the run.  Instead, they kept throwing, all the way to a loss.