Baltimore at Cincinnati: 3 Things We Learned
Baltimore had trouble with third down conversions in this contest, picking up only 5 first downs on 13 attempts, while Cinincinnati had little trouble executing on third down, picking up 8 first downs on 14 attempts. Baltimore went for it three times on fourth down, picking up only one first down, compared to the Bengals who converted their only fourth down attempt of the game. One of Baltimore's failed fourth down attempts took place at the Bengals 1 yard line, a missed scoring oppotunity that would have changed the outcome of the game.
Joe Flacco struggled with his accuracy throughout the game, completing only 17 of 34 pass attempts for a dismal 195 yards passing. Flacco failed to throw a touchdown pass in the game, but he did throw two interceptions, which resulted in a touchdown and field goal for the Bengals.
C.J. Mosley had a monster game on defense for the Baltimore Ravens, putting up Ray Lewis like numbers with 13 tackles, 8 of which were unassisted, while also picking off an errant pass from Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. Haloti Ngata was a thorn in Andy Dalton's backside throughout the game, recording 8 tackles and 1 sack, while keeping the pressure on Dalton throughout the game.
Baltimore's defense played a terrific game, keeping Andy Dalton from throwing a touchdown pass, but most importantly they held Bengals' star running back Giovanni Bernard to only 45 yards rushing on 16 carries, for a meager 2.8 average per carry. In comparison, the Bengals defense played at an equal level, keeping Flacco in check, while also keeping Ravens' running back Justin Forsett (68 yards rushing) from being able to stetch the field.
The biggest moment of the game occured during the Ravens' final possesion of the game, when Joe Flacco hit veteran wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. on an eighty yard touchdown pass. Controversy made its grand appearance as Smith Sr. was called for offensive pass interference, which allowed the Bengals to run out the clock. It's questionable whether or not Smith made contact with the defender, or whether the defender slipped as the reception was made. You hate to see a solid and evenly matched game come down to a questionable ref call, but it does give the Ravens' fans base a chance to say "the fix is in," and they might be right too.