The Cincinnati Bengals are on top in the AFC North after beating the Baltimore Ravens in a very ugly Thursday Night Football game, 34-23. Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco both struggled at times, but Dalton had the much better game, with four touchdowns and no picks, while Flacco threw two picks and lost a fumble while throwing two touchdowns.
The Bengals jumped out to an early lead when Dalton found A.J. Green on three consecutive touchdown passes. The Ravens were very slow to start, with Joe Flacco throwing a quick interception and gaining large chunks of yardage due to ticky-tacky pass interference calls. Both Baltimore touchdowns in the first half came after end zone pass interference calls were made.
The largest lead of the game was 21 points for the Bengals, who were essentially non-existent in the third quarter and barely better in the fourth. They put together a field goal drive late in the fourth, a drive that killed several minutes off the clock. That made it an 8-point game with just under three minutes to go. A Flacco fumble effectively sealed the game after Cincinnati kicked a field goal to make it an 11-point game.
Dalton finished having completed 24 of 42 passes for 265 yards and four touchdowns. Green caught five passes for 69 yards and three touchdowns, while Joe Mixon managed 84 yards rushing. Flacco completed 32 of 55 passes for 376 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions while also losing a fumble.
Below is the live blog from Thursday evening, in reverse order.
Bengals 34, Ravens 23, FINAL: Baltimore gets a quick 15 yards after a roughing the passer penalty. Flacco then throws two incomplete passes, and Dre Kirkpatrick was injured for the Bengals. Flacco hits Allen for a 7-yard gain, and they have a 4th-and-3 at the two-minute warning. They convert the fourth down, and then pick up another first, but the time is winding down. Flacco goes deep the end zone, but it’s incomplete. Flacco finds Snead for a 9-yard pickup, then Williams to get the first down. They clock it. Short completion, and they clock it again with 8 seconds to go. Another pass, this one to Snead for 12 yards, and the clock runs out.
Bengals 34, Ravens 23, 2:29, 4Q: Two runs pick up just 3 yards for the Bengals, with the Ravens burning two timeouts in the process. On 3rd-and-7, Mixon takes it a few yards, but doesn’t get the first down. He does, however, make the field goal attempt easier. The 40-yard attempt is good and the Bengals have a lead of 11 points.
Bengals 31, Ravens 23, 2:52, 4Q: Two incomplete passes for Flacco, and then while rolling out, he has a fumble forced, and Cincinnati recovers! If they can kill some clock, this one is done!
Bengals 31, Ravens 23, 3:44, 4Q: Bengals get the ball back, and Mixon is back in after being injured. He goes for 6 yards, then checks himself out of the game with a noticeable limp. The Bengals throw incomplete on third down, but Young is called for defensive holding. New set of downs for Cincinnati, and then another after a 12-yard pass to Uzomah. Mixon comes back in and picks up 5 yards, then Green picks up 8 on a pass from Dalton. Then Mixon runs for 21 yards after reversing direction. They then lose yardage on a couple running plays, but ultimately make it to the Baltimore 10-yard line, setting up a field goal chance. It’s nearly blocked, but it goes through making it an 8-point game.
Bengals 28, Ravens 23, 9:35, 4Q: Dalton finds Green for 18 yards, then Eifert for 7 yards. Bernard’s run goes for just 1 yard, and the third quarter comes to an end. On 3rd-and-2, Dalton throws an incomplete pass to Boyd, who was wide, wide open on the play. Flacco misses a wide open Boyle over the middle on first down. He hits Brown for a 17-yard gain and a first down, and then hit Snead for another first down. He hits Crabtree , and then scrambles for a first-down on a 3rd-and-2. Falcco then finds Brown for a touchdown after a false start penalty — a 21-yard touchdown. They then go for the two-point conversion to make it a three-point game, but don’t get it.
Bengals 28, Ravens 17, 2:00, 3Q: Two plays to Bernard go for first downs, but the drive stalls from there, just outside of field goal range. They punt, and the Ravens will take over at their own 9-yard line. Flacco hits Crabtree for 7 yards, then Boyle for 17 yards. He’s nearly sacked on a 2nd down play, but gets it away to Allen, who picks up the first. Flacco gets hit as he throws his next pass, and it’s intercepted by Williams!
Bengals 28, Ravens 17, 6:35, 3Q: Ravens get the ball back, and a short pass to Collins once again goes for a big gain, this one for 24 yards. Two short plays and an incomplete pass later, and the Ravens were facing a 4th-and-2. They leave the offense on the field, and go for it. Flacco throws short to Allen, who can’t get far enough. Bengals ball on their own 43-yard line!
Bengals 28, Ravens 17, 9:10 3Q: It’s a very short drive for the Ravens, but one that ends with a Justin Tucker 55-yard field goal, narrowing the gap slightly. Cincinnati gets the ball back on their own 24-yard line. Mixon picks up 7 yards on a run, and then a pass to Kroft gets the first down. Young blows up Mixon in the backfield for a 2-yard loss, and a false start leads to a 3rd-and-12. Dalton’s pass is nearly intercepted by Humphrey, but Boyd knocks it away. Huber punts to the Baltimore 21-yard-line.
Bengals 28, Ravens 14, 13:44, 3Q: Bengals receive the second half opening kickoff, but they don’t get much out of it. A couple incomplete passes and a holding penalty lead to a Bengals punt. Baltimore will take over on their own 35-yard line.
Bengals 28, Ravens 14, END 2Q: Ravens get the ball, and pick up a quick first down. After the two-minute warning, Flacco hits Snead for a 19-yard gain. But two Flacco incomplete passes later, from Cincinnati territory, they go for it on fourth down, but the Bengals hold with another Flacco incomplete pass. Three incomplete passes from Dalton followed, prompting a Bengals punt, so Ravens get the ball back with 1:08 remaining.
Flacco throws a deep ball to Brown and it’s nowhere near complete, and is dropped by the Cincinnati defender. Flacco then hits Collins for a short pass, and Collins makes him look good by picking up 22 yards. Then he finds Crabtree for a 17-yard gain. Flacco goes deep to Brown in the end zone, but it’s well overthrown aaaand … another super weak pass interference call on Cincinnati, so Baltimore gets a first down at the 1-yard line. No gain on the run, then an incomplete pass. On third down, Flacco finds Andrews for a touchdown. The extra point makes it a 14-point game.
Bengals 28, Ravens 7, 2:58, 2Q: Cincinnati gets the ball back, and a quick ticky-tacky roughing the passer penalty, putting them on their own 37-yard line. He then finds Boyd for a 22-yard reception to move into Baltimore territory. They then back up some after an offensive holding penalty. Then an illegal shift penalty hurts them, and they are at 1st-and-goal from the 14-yard line. And it’s a 14-yard touchdown to Boyd for an even bigger Bengals lead.
Bengals 21, Ravens 7, 8:20, 2Q: Flacco throws incomplete, and then an underthrown ball to Brown goes 9 yards. They run Flacco up the middle for a first down. They then lose 7 yards on a run, but Flacco hits Brown for 45 yards, and the Ravens are showing some life! They get a boost when Flacco throws incomplete to Andrews, but the officials call Dennard for pass interference, though it seemed like a weak call. Either way, the Ravens run it with Allen and pick up the 1-yard touchdown to get on the board.
Bengals 21, Ravens 0, 13:02 2Q: It was all Cincinnati in the opening quarter, with the Bengals out-gaining the Ravens 141 yards to 27, while piling up nine first downs to just one for Baltimore. The production spilled over into the second quarter, when Andy Dalton finished off a drive with his third touchdown pass of the night, all to A.J. Green.
Bengals 14, Ravens 0, 6:26, 1Q: False start to begin the drive for the Ravens, but a 16-yard reception by Crabtree gives them af irst down. Then Flacco was sacked for a loss of 11 yards, and a 14-yard rush from Collins wasn’t enough to move the sticks. An incomplete pass sealed it, and Koch punted for a touchback.
The ensuing Bengals drive includes a quick 29-yard reception for Uzomah, then an 8-yard run from Bernard. Then Dalton, again, finds Green for a touchdown, this one for 32 yards. Do the Bills suck that much?
Bengals 7, Ravens 0, 10:35, 1Q: After the Dalton incompletion, they pick up 4 yards on a Mixon run, and then Dalton tries to go to Eifert in the end zone. It’s incomplete, but it’s a pass interference penalty on Baltimore, giving the Bengals a new set of downs from the 1-yard line. They lose some yardage on a running play, but Dalton finds A.J. Green on the next play for a touchdown. Bengals lead!
Ravens 0, Bengals 0, 12:13, 1Q: Joe Flacco has officially arrived — throwing a terrible interception of the ensuing drive. No, really terrible. He overthrows his well-covered receiver by about 5 yards. Then Andy Dalton came out and threw a pick as well, but the play was received and ruled incomplete instead.
With his 1st-quarter INT, Joe Flacco has 75 INT since 2013, the second-most in the NFL.
Only Eli Manning (85) has more over that span.#TNF
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) September 14, 2018
Ravens 0, Bengals 0, 12:37 1Q: The first drive of the game is a quick one, with Flacco throwing incomplete, then a Collins rush for minus-4 yards and then a sack on Flacco for a 3-and-out. Bengals will take over on their own 31-yard line. The Bengals don’t do much better, with a 1-yard loss followed by a pair of incompletions. The Bengals are called for tripping and the penalty is declined — another 3-and-out.
8:20 p.m.: Our live blog will commence with highlights and more shortly after this one kicks off!
Both the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals made it out of Week 1 with wins, though the former team was much more impressive than the latter. The Bengals will try and avoid the fate suffered by the Buffalo Bills when they face Baltimore at home on Thursday Night Football, beginning at 8:20 p.m. ET on NFL Network (live streaming via FuboTV, NFL).
The Ravens destroyed the Bills, 47-3, with Joe Flacco completing 25 of 34 passes for 236 yards and three touchdowns and the team rushing for 117 total yards. They also snared two interceptions off of Nathan Peterman.
Cincinnati played a much closer game against the Indianapolis Colts, but ultimately took a comfortable 34-23 victory in Week 1. Andy Dalton threw for 243 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but also tossed an interception. Joe Mixon was excellent, with 95 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.
Last season, the AFC North rival Bengals and Ravens split their season series, each losing at home — in Cincinnati in Week 1 and in Baltimore in Week 17.
- Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
- Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati
- TV: NFL Network
- Streaming: FuboTV, NFL
- Odds: Baltimore opened as 3-point favorites, but some books have this one at even money.
- In the Ravens’ final injury report, they ruled out four players: CB Maurice Canady, RB Kenneth Dixon, DT Willie Henry and TE Hayden Hurst, while WR Janarion Grant has been listed as questionable with a hand injury.
- Speaking of Dixon, the 2016 fourth-round pick has been placed on injured reserve, possibly ending his stint with the Ravens after multiple injury-filled seasons. The team promoted UDFA De’Lance Turner to the active roster in a corresponding move.
- For the Bengals, linebacker Preston Brown is questionable with an ankle injury. He has played every game of his career thus far.
- The Bengals will have Anthony Munoz, Sam Wyche, and more former players in attendance to celebrate their 1988 Super Bowl anniversary.
- As the folks at Cincy Jungle note, Thursday’s game is huge for the AFC North, with both teams winning in Week 1 and the other two in the division fighting to a tie.
- The folks at Baltimore Beatdown posted their five key matchups for Thursday’s game. At Cincy Jungle, they’ve got their own set of four matchups to watch.
Of the seven experts picking Week 2 games for SB Nation, six of them think the Ravens will win, with Adam Stites the only holdout going with Cincinnati. The coin flip and the OddsShark computer also landed on Baltimore.