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Lewis to Ravens: We've been there; Bengals look to even mark vs. rookie QBs

Posted Sep 20, 2010

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said what all of Bengaldom was thinking Monday as the NFL digested the postgame rage of Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and his middle linebacker Ray Lewis at two calls that went against Baltimore in the second half and led to two go-ahead field goals in Sunday’s 15-10 Cincinnati victory.

The first one, a tripping call on Ray Lewis that wiped out a sack on third and 12 from the Ravens 34, led to Mike Nugent’s 46-yard field goal that gave the Bengals a 9-7 lead with 14 seconds left in the third quarter. The second one, a roughing the passer call on linebacker Terrell Suggs, gave the Bengals a first down on the Ravens 26 and set up Nugent’s 38-yarder that gave the Bengals the lead for good with 4:34 left in the game.

Marvin Lewis, a member of the NFL competition committee, had no sympathy. Not after a 2006 game in Tampa Bay in which defensive end Justin Smith appeared to have secured a win for the Bengals with a third-down sack of rookie quarterback Brue Gradkowski in the final minute. But Smith was called for roughing on what looked to be a typical tackle and the Bucs scored the winning touchdown seconds later when they got a first down at the Bengals 25 with the penalty.

And there was no sympathy after Lewis watched the Bengals lose their only touchdown of Sunday's game when wide receiver Terrell Owens got pulled down on a jump ball in the end zone. The Bengals only got three points out of that drive instead of seven.

“Tripping is tripping,” Lewis said. “We’ve been on the other side of the body slam of the quarterback, right? You don’t really want to ask that question do you? ... That’s something you’ve got to keep talking to your players about. Unfortunately, I saw one of our receivers get mauled in the end zone yesterday and not have to chance to catch the ball either.

“You’re not always going to get those calls, even if they do grab his arm and pull him to the ground. It was missed, and that happens. We did get some that broke our way. I’d be upset maybe if I was called for a body slam if I didn’t think it was a body slam.”

The Bengals could also point to a stat sheet where they were called for nine penalties and the Ravens just five. But while Harbaugh got on the officials, Lewis made sure he sought out Owens.

"Just like I told Terrell yesterday, there’s no need to sit there and demonstrate to the official," Lewis said. "That’s not helping us because you’ve got to get ready to go back in the game the very next play. We can get you a blow for a play but you go get ready to go back in the next play and make the play. That’s what you’ve got to do."

ANOTHER ROOKIE: For the 14th time in the Lewis era, the Bengals face a rookie quarterback and they'll try to even their record at 7-7 against Jimmy Clausen in Carolina on Sunday. Six of the losses have come at the hands of season sweeps delivered by Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, Baltimore's Joe Flacco in 2008 and the Jets' Mark Sanchez in 2009. But the Bengals also beat a future Super Bowl MVP in the Giants' Eli Manning in 2004 and another overall No. 1 pick in Detoit' s Matthew Stafford last season.  

SLANTS AND SCREENS

» After watching his offense commit two pre-snap penalties in the red zone Sunday (left guard Nate Livings' false start and left tackle Andrew Whitworth's illegal formation), Lewis indicated he's looking for more simplicity from his offense all over the field. The Bengals seemed to have expanded their shifting and motion packages from last year.

Look what going simple did for coordinator Mike Zimmer's defense. It limited one of the top offenses in the league to one touchdown, 259 yards, and 4-for-15 on third down.

"It was simpler but not simple," Zimmer said Monday of the difference between the New England and Baltimore game plans. "We did have too many checks (against the Patriots)."

» Speaking of Gradkowski, the Bengals are facing another rookie quarterback Sunday in Carolina's Jimmy Clausen.

Don't get Zimmer going on rookie QBs. His first game as a Bengals defensive coordnator came against one in Baltimore's Joe Flacco and the Bengals lost the '08 opener, 17-10, on two long touchdown runs off reverses. Flacco went the wrong way on one, but it resulted in a 38-yard touchdown on a broken play. Flacco barely completed half of his 29 passes for just 129 yards, but the Bengals had no sacks and interceptions.

"I guarantee that anybody playing quarterback in the NFL has thrown for a lot of yards in college," Zimmer said.

» With Jon Fanene (hamstring) down, SAM linebaker Michael Johnson played a lot of end Sunday after spending all last week with the linemen for the first time since some work with the linebackers in the spring. He came through with a half sack and a quarterback hurry.

  

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