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(Sunday, November 8th)
Final Score: Cincinnati 17, Baltimore 7
Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Cedric Benson rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries, as the Cincinnati Bengals scored all of their points in the first half to take down the Baltimore Ravens, 17-7, in a battle between AFC North contenders at Paul Brown Stadium.
Carson Palmer completed 20-of-33 passes for 224 yards and a touchdown for the Bengals (6-2), who are off to a 6-2 start for the first time since 2005. Cincinnati won the division that season with an 11-5 record, its only winning mark since 1990.
Laveranues Coles caught six passes for 72 yards, while Chad Ochocinco hauled in five balls for 66 yards. Andre Caldwell caught three passes for 15 yards and a score for Cincinnati, which swept the Ravens this season after also winning at Baltimore in Week 5.
"Today was a hard-fought win. Looking back on it, offensively we got off to a great start and were able to put points on the board early by converting third downs and converting on defense. The key to winning a football game is winning on the third down; this was an offensive unit that has been red hot with that. The guys did a great job executing today, and special teams did a nice job as well," Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said.
The Bengals did suffer a bit of a setback in the victory, as wide receiver Chris Henry sustained a fractured left forearm. Henry caught a 20-yard pass on Cincinnati's first play of the second quarter and his left arm hit the ground hard after being tackled by Fabian Washington. An air cast was placed on Henry's left arm as he was carted off the field. X-rays in the locker room showed the fracture.
Joe Flacco connected on 18-of-32 passes for 195 yards and two interceptions for the Ravens (4-4), who were coming off an impressive 30-7 rout of the Broncos last Sunday. Ray Rice rushed for 48 yards and a TD on 12 carries. He also caught eight passes for 87 yards in defeat.
"I want to give credit to the Bengals. They came out strong from the get-go. They jumped out to the 14-0 lead, and they finished strong too. They played well throughout. It was a heck of a win for them, so give them credit. They earned it," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said.
Ahead 17-0, the Bengals decided to go for it on a 4th-and-3 from the Baltimore 35 late in the third quarter. Pressure from the Ravens' defense forced an incomplete pass from Palmer. Baltimore took over and finally showed signs of life on offense.
Flacco completed three consecutive passes that went for over 10 yards on an eight-play drive that Rice finished with a two-yard TD run, cutting the gap to 10 with 12:54 to play in the contest.
Ed Reed came up big for the Baltimore defense on the ensuing Cincinnati possession. On 3rd-and-7, Ochocinco gained 17 yards on a catch-and-run. However, Reed forced a fumble on the tackle and returned the ball to the Bengals 47.
The Ravens had to settle for a field goal try, but Steven Hauschka's 38-yard attempt went wide left with 6:12 remaining.
Baltimore took over on its own 16 with 3:47 to go after forcing Cincinnati to punt. But the Bengals' defense held strong to preserve the victory.
The Bengals marched down the field on the opening possession of the game. A 21-yard Benson run helped set up a six-yard TD catch by Caldwell for a 7-0 lead with 8:55 left.
Cincinnati put together another long scoring drive with its next possession. The Bengals decided to go for it on 4th-and-2 at the Ravens 39. Palmer's deep pass to Ochocinco along the right sideline was incomplete, but Washington was whistled for defensive pass interference. A few plays later, Benson scampered into the end zone from one yard out to cap a 10-play, 80-yard march for a 14-0 margin with 2:23 remaining.
Baltimore's defensive problems carried over into the second period, as the Bengals put together a 12-play, 75-yard drive with their first possession of the stanza. Shayne Graham topped off the march with a 23-yard field goal for a 17-0 lead with 7:45 left until half.
The Ravens' disastrous first half continued when Flacco was picked off by Leon Hall. Baltimore did force Cincinnati to go three-and-out, but a great punt pinned the Ravens at their own one. Baltimore ran the ball three times to run the first half clock out.
Cincinnati linebacker Keith Rivers left with a calf injury...The Bengals outgained the Ravens, 369-215. Baltimore had just 44 total yards at the half...Baltimore leads the all-time series with Cincinnati, 15-13...The Ravens swept the season series between these teams last year...The Ravens play at the Browns next Monday night, while the Bengals travel to Pittsburgh to play the Steelers next Sunday.
11/08 19:55:30 ET