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(Sunday, September 19th)
Final Score: Cincinnati 15, Baltimore 10
Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - Mike Nugent kicked a career-high five field goals, and the Cincinnati Bengals took advantage of the turnover-prone Baltimore Ravens to post a 15-10 victory at Paul Brown Stadium.
Carson Palmer completed only 16-of-35 passes for 167 yards with no touchdowns, but was not picked off, as the Bengals (1-1) recovered from a 38-24 loss to New England in Week 1. The Cincinnati defense was able to force four turnovers, while the offense committed none.
"5-for-5, that's big-time," Palmer said of Nugent. "We expect that of him, and we gave him some chances that were make-able. We didn't stick him out there with a 55-yarder and then give their team field position. He just did a great job today."
Cedric Benson led a meager rushing attack with 78 yards on 23 carries, while Terrell Owens had 57 yards receiving on three catches.
Joe Flacco was inconsistent, setting a career-high with four interceptions. He completed just 17-of-39 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown for the Ravens (1-1), who beat the Jets, 10-9, in Week 1. Ray Rice carried the ball 16 times for 87 yards, while Anquan Boldin had five receptions for 35 yards in defeat.
"You cannot win in this league with turnovers," said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. "That's been proven time and time again. Minus-four is not going to get it done. We did it with minus-two last week -- we got it done. We have to get this straightened out fast."
Billy Cundiff's 38-yard field goal with just under six minutes left put the Ravens ahead, 10-9, but the Bengals responded to go ahead for good.
Bernard Scott returned the ensuing kickoff 60 yards to gain the Ravens' 41, and a roughing the passer penalty put the ball on the Baltimore 26. The drive stalled from there, and Nugent drilled his fourth field goal -- from 38 yards away -- for a 12-10 advantage with 4 1/2 minutes left.
Flacco tried to answer for Baltimore, but was intercepted deep in Ravens territory on the second play of the next drive. Nugent added a 25-yard field goal soon after for a five-point Bengals lead with less than three minutes on the clock.
The Ravens had one more opportunity to score the game-winning touchdown, but Cincinnati's Chinedum Ndukwe came up with an interception on fourth down from the Baltimore 23, sealing the game's outcome.
Both offenses stumbled early, but the Bengals got going a bit toward the end of the first quarter.
Cincinnati converted a pair of third downs on a Benson five-yard run and Jordan Shipley 10-yard catch, and the 13-play drive ended in the opening moments of the second quarter on Nugent's 36-yard field goal.
Flacco was intercepted over the middle on the next drive, and Adam Jones was able to return it 10 yards to the Baltimore 35. The ensuing drive stalled inside the red zone, and Nugent doubled the Bengals' lead with a 30-yard field goal.
Baltimore's offensive attack continued to struggle, managing just 77 yards in the opening 30 minutes while scoring no points. The second half, though, proved to be a different story, as the Ravens came out with a quick, effective attack.
Flacco hit Ed Dickson for a 17-yard gain on the third play from scrimmage of the second half and followed with a 19-yard completion to Todd Heap down to the Cincinnati 33. Two plays later, he lofted a perfect pass into the arms of Derrick Mason for a 31-yard touchdown and a 7-6 Baltimore lead.
Each team failed on its next two possessions, but the Bengals went ahead late in the third. The Ravens sacked Palmer on third down from the Ravens' 34, seemingly putting Cincinnati out of field goal range, but Ray Lewis was called for a tripping penalty to keep the drive alive. Nugent eventually added a 46- yard field goal with 14 seconds on the clock for a 9-7 advantage.
Despite the loss, the Ravens have yet to give up a touchdown this season...Both teams struggled on third down. The Bengals went 3-of-18, while the Ravens went 4-of-15...After allowing the Jets to convert 1-of-11 third downs last week, the Ravens' defense has allowed a 12.5 percent conversion rate on third down (4-of-32) this season...Flacco finished the first half with just 23 yards passing, a career-low for the first half...Cincinnati has won the last three in the series and six of the last eight.
09/19 17:50:06 ET