BALTIMORE — After an improbable Hail Mary pass from quarterback
After getting sacked on back-to-back snaps as the game bled away in regulation, Dalton launched a 51-yard Hail Mary with no time left that got tipped twice into the arms of Green all by himself in the right corner to tie the Ravens at 17 and send the Bengals into overtime for the second time in 11 days. It marked the first time in club history Cincinnati had been involved in back-to-back OT games and its third one this season (a 27-24 win in Buffalo on Oct. 13) is also a team record.
The Bengals won the overtime coin toss and elected to receive. A mixture of Dalton quick passes and timely runs by
However, the play blew up when Bernard hauled in a swing pass but was quickly bottled up near the right sideline. Similar to last week's 35-yard touchdown in Miami where he reversed field, he tried it again but the Ravens defenders caught up to him for an 11-yard loss back to the Ravens 44.
After the first half From You Know Where, the Bengals tried to crawl back from a 17-0 deficit and cut it to 17-10 with 8:22 left in the game when Bernard scooted 18 yards on a screen for a touchdown set up by cornerback
But the offense that is supposed to carry the Bengals down the stretch betrayed them at almost every turn until the last one. Their seemingly last hope ended when Dalton threw his third interception of the game as he overthrew Green at about the Ravens 18 and safety James Ihedigbo picked off the deflection with 1:55 left. It was the second straight game Dalton suffered three picks.
But it was Ihedigbo that ended up making the last tip on the Hail Mary. That play gave Green 142 receiving yards and his fifth straight 100-yard game, a Bengals record.Flacco's 15-yard throw to tight end Ed Dickson in the middle of the field and a personal foul call on WILL linebacker
Yet as the defense has done time and time again this season stepped up with 4:01 left. Left end
Dalton then converted a third-and-long with a 12-yard run to the Ravens 37 when he spun away from Ihedigbo, but then he threw that third interception as the Bengals worked into the wind.
The Bernard touchdown was the only glimmer of offense as Bernard used a peel-back block by left guard
With the Bengals suffocating a Baltimore offense that was outgained by Cincinnati's penalty yards in the first half (114-94), the Bengals cut the lead to 17-3 on the second half's first series on Nugent's 32-yard field-goal. But they couldn't punch it in from the red zone and on the next series they lost valuable time and field position when wide receiver
But a defense led by backup Bengals middle linebacker
Green made a juggling 43-yard catch between two Ravens to get the Bengals past midfield, but their third-down woes (they missed 11 out of their first 13) continued. This one got negated when cornerback Jimmy Smith got his hand out at the last minute to knock away a pass intended for Green on the sideline at the Ravens 25.
It was one of Dalton's worst efforts and he didn't get a lot of help. When he got sacked on back-to-back snaps by rush linebacker Elvis Dumervil early in the fourth quarter, his passer rating was 28.6. He finished 24-of-51 for 274 yards and a season-low rating of 52.2.
On that first drive of the second half, Dalton got sacked by Arthur Jones on second down working against right tackle
An unsuccessful gamble, seven penalties for a crushing 114 yards that outgained their offense (102), and sloppy execution in all three phases put the Bengals in that 17-0 hole at halftime against the Ravens.
Dalton, missing 13 of 21 passes in the first half, ended a skein of four straight incompletions when he sailed a ball intended for Eifert down the seam into the arms of Ihedigbo near midfield, and when wide receiver
It was the first interception by a Ravens safety this season.
Flacco converted moments later when he found wide receiver Torrey Smith for a seven-yard touchdown with Smith cutting inside safety
That let the dogs out for Baltimore's NFL's third-best pass rush. Backed up on own his goal line for the last series of the half, Dalton had back-to-back passes tipped by nose tackle Haloti Ngata and Dumervil as the Bengals went into halftime blanked for the first time all season.
If the offense was supposed to pick up the banged-up Bengals defense, it literally dropped the ball in its worst half of the season. No facet of the offense surfaced with the Bengals only able to grind out 3.2 yards per carry on 17 runs (Bernard had 27 yards on seven carries and
The Bengals looked to be in control when they won the coin flip, deferred, and started with a wind at times gusting beyond 20 miles per hour. But it quickly blew up.
Lewis wasted no time to get into the Monday morning second-guessing game when he opted on the first series to go for it on fourth-and-one from the Ravens 47 and Dalton's sneak got nothing.
Baltimore, one of the worst offenses in the NFL, then took just one play to take advantage when wide receiver Jacoby Jones ran past cornerback
On third down from the 1, the Bengals got pressure on Flacco after a play-action fake but Flacco stayed up long enough heading to the right sideline to find tight end Dallas Clark in the back of the end zone working against safety
Crocker was called for a holding call on the play and after an uncharacteristic short punt by
Dalton had an extremely rough time and had Ravens in his face many times on his way to just 47 passing yards. He only hit five of his first 14 passes and when the Bengals had a first down from the Ravens 26 on the first play of the second quarter, he couldn't keep the ball on the field when it fluttered out of bounds as he tried to hit Sanu at the left pylon. Then on third down the Ravens ran a double linebacker blitz up the middle moving Dalton out of the pocket and he one-hopped a throw on the run to Green.
Kicking into the wind Nugent then sliced a 42-yarder wide left.
Green had just one catch for seven yards on four targets. Bernard had four of the completions for 17 yards.
The Bengals defense stood up in the half, holding the Ravens to just 94 yards but got victimized by the penalty yards. The star of the half was Rey, securing his first NFL interception when right end Michael Johnson hit Flacco's arm. Rey also came up with his second and third career sacks.
With the Bengals using a variety of players at defensive tackle on passing downs (ends Carlos Dunlap and
PREGAME NOTES: Those 10 mile-per-hour winds wasted no time gusting at times to a swirling pace during Sunday's pregame workouts at M&T Bank Stadium and head coach Marvin Lewis's optimism got deflated with a game-time decision.
Bernard (rib) was active after he went limited all week following the injury that took him out of the last minutes of the Oct. 31 game in Miami. But just in case, the Bengals made rookie running back
Even though Gresham is out, the Bengals don't figure to change their heavy double tight-end look. Eifert can take Gresham's targets in the pass game and
It is Smith's first Bengals start and the 56th of his career. He started twice last season, the last one coming Nov. 18 against Dallas for the Browns. He went against Baltimore for the past three seasons in Cleveland and had three catches for eight yards against the Ravens last season.
Big stat heading into this one: The Bengals offense is third in the NFL scoring red-zone touchdowns 67 percent of the time and the Ravens defense is the second in allowing red-zone touchdowns just 32 percent of the time.