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(Sunday, October 11th)
Final Score: Cincinnati 17, Baltimore 14
Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Carson Palmer threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell with 22 seconds to play in the fourth quarter, complementing a sterling effort by an emotional Bengals defense in a 17-14 upset of the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.
The play from Palmer to Caldwell was the culmination of an 11-play, 80-yard drive that was extended by three Baltimore penalties, including a personal foul for Ray Lewis on a pass attempt to Chad Ochocinco over the middle of the field, and a pass interference call on Ravens safety Ed Reed.
The drive was emblematic of what was a frustrating day for the Ravens (3-2) defense.
Cincinnati running back Cedric Benson ran over Baltimore for 120 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries, becoming the first player to rush for 100 yards against the Ravens since the Chiefs' Larry Johnson did so on Nov. 10, 2006. The Ravens had gone 39 consecutive games without allowing a 100-yard rusher.
"It was huge," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis of Benson's performance. "This team doesn't give up 100-yard rushers. Believe me, I know that. It's a tradition, and it's prideful. What our offensive group and Cedric did today has been unmatched for a long time."
But the Bengals (4-1) defense was the real story in this one. The unit, appearing in its first game since the sudden passing of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer's wife, Vikki, on Thursday night, held the third-ranked offense in the league to just 12 first downs and one offensive scoring drive on the day.
Zimmer was in attendance at Sunday's game and performed his usual coaching responsibilities.
"Obviously, with what our guys have been through this week - coaches and players alike - it was a great tribute to Mike Zimmer and his family," said Lewis. "It's just awesome. I don't know how it could be any better for that."
Baltimore appeared to take control just before Cincinnati's final march, as Ray Rice took a short Joe Flacco pass 48 yards for a touchdown at the 6:59 mark of the fourth quarter. Rice spun out of an apparent tackle by Bengals linebacker Brandon Johnson and cornerback Leon Hall on a 2nd-and-24 play, giving Baltimore what would be its first and only offensive points of the contest.
With Zimmer at the controls, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco had his least productive outing of the season, completing 22-of-31 passes for only 186 yards and two interceptions as well as the TD pass to Rice.
"The game is always decided on the field," said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. "We didn't play well enough to win, and we didn't. We didn't finish and find a way in the end to win. We all understand that. Every one of our guys understands that. Coaches understand that, and we have work to do."
The Ravens' only points up until the Rice run came on a 52-yard interception return for safety Ed Reed at the 12:17 mark of the second quarter, on an errant Palmer pass intended for Ochocinco. It was the sixth interception return for a touchdown in Reed's storied career -- a team record -- and the 12th regular season touchdown of his Baltimore career overall.
Palmer, who played down the stretch with a sprained left thumb, finished 18- of-31 for 271 yards, a touchdown, and the pick.
Cincinnati first went ahead late in the third, when Benson slipped out of a Jameel McClain tackle attempt and rumbled for a 28-yard touchdown to put the Bengals ahead, 10-7, with 52 seconds to play in the quarter.
The teams both came up empty on long first-quarter drives, with the Bengals' Shayne Graham having a 32-yard field goal blocked by the Ravens' Kelly Gregg following a high snap to end the game's first series, and Flacco throwing an interception to the Bengals' Johnathan Joseph after leading Baltimore to the Cincinnati 20-yard line.
Following Reed's pick-six, Cincinnati got on the board, cutting the lead to 7-3 when Graham connected on a 32-yard field goal with 10:11 to play in the second quarter. A 73-yard pass from Palmer to Chris Henry that got the Bengals down to the Baltimore four-yard-line helped set up the score.
With the win, the Bengals moved into sole possession of first place in the AFC North for the first time since late in the 2005 season.
The Bengals, who defeated the Steelers and Browns in Weeks 3 and 4, respectively, have now beaten all three AFC North opponents in a three-week span...Cincinnati won road games on back-to-back weeks for the first time since November 2006, when they prevailed at New Orleans and Cleveland on consecutive Sundays...Ravens running back Willis McGahee failed to score a touchdown in a game for the first time this season, after totaling seven scores through the season's first four weeks. McGahee carried once for minus- two yards and logged a four-yard catch...The Ravens have lost consecutive games for the first time since Weeks 5-6 of the 2008 season, when they finished off a three-game losing streak...The Bengals' Joseph intercepted a pass for a third consecutive week.
10/11 17:12:31 ET
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