The Baltimore Ravens demolished the Cincinnati Bengals in the nationally televised Monday Night Football game with a final score of 44-13.
The Ravens, still mourning the death of former owner Art Modell, who died last week, observed a moment of silence before the game to honor him.
While the first half was touch and go at times, the offense exploded in the second half and the defense regrouped and revised their strategy to stop the Bengals in their tracks.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco lead the team with the no-huddle offense. He made an impressive showing going 21 for 29 for 299 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He finished with a 128.4 quarterback rating.
The offense had 430 offensive yards and 44 points, third most in Ravens history. Flacco started the game by connecting with wide receiver Torrey Smith for 52 yards, the longest play to start a game in franchise history.
Offensive receiving leaders include wide receiver Anquan Boldin, 4 for 62 yards and one touchdown and tight end Dennis Pitta, 5 for 73 yards and one touchdown.
Running-back Ray Rice didn’t have many touches, he went 13 for 68 yards.
The defense let an early 14-0 lead shrink to 17-13. The Bengals had three consecutive long drives from the end of the first and into the second quarter.
Room For Improvement
The pass defense needs to do a better job of stopping the run. Head coach John Harbaugh said it is a matter of technique and that they need to figure some things out.
Linebacker Ray Lewis admits there is room for improvement:
“We didn’t play perfectly as a defense,” Lewis said. “But we are working our kinks out just like everyone else is working their kinks out. When it got to where we needed to make plays we made the plays we were supposed to make.”
Safety Ed Reed had a pick-six and ran it in for a touchdown setting a new NFL record for the most interception return yards in the NFL at 1,497.
Reed tweaked his hamstring during the play and left the game, he is expected to make a full recovery and should be ready to play next week.
With a huge lead and eight minutes left in the game, Flacco watched from the sidelines as his backup, Tyrod Taylor got some playing time.
The Ravens head to Philadelphia to face the Eagles on Sunday.
It was a fun game to watch, it was even more fun to see it in person. I was worried at half-time, I wasn’t sure the defense could keep stopping the Bengals, but they surprised me when they changed their strategy and stopped them from scoring.
Flacco looked like an elite quarterback. While he had a good game, it is a long season, he’s had issues with consistency so we’ll see how he does over the long haul. I’m taking it one week at a time…