TDBH: Bengals rally around Zimmer for emotional late victory over Ravens to stay unbeaten in North

Posted Oct 10, 2017

This Day in Bengals History - October 11, 2009

BALTIMORE – Coaching in unspeakable grief today with his father, son and daughter in the stands less than 72 hours after his wife’s sudden death, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer helps dial up one of the most emotional victories in Bengals history. After his unit holds Ravens long ball quarterback Joe Flacco to just six yards per pass in the 17-14 victory, Zimmer gets the game ball from head coach Marvin Lewis. Lewis says he tells the team, “You know how Vikki felt about all of you. She’s up there smiling. Win or lose.’” TV clips show Zimmer mobbed by the players before he raises his hand and says, "I want to thank y'all for your effort." In what is fast becoming an unforgettable season, Carson Comeback and his Cardiac Cats, along with a family dedicated to football and each other, take Bengaldom on another gut-wrenching Kings Island roller coaster ride.

Carson Palmer’s 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Andre Caldwell with 22 seconds left for his third straight fourth-quarter comeback and 10th of his career share the spotlight with a defensive effort for the ages. The Bengals hold the Ravens on eight of 11 third-down plays and shut out leading receiver Derrick Mason. The win follows Cincinnati's 23-20 wins over Pittsburgh and Cleveland the last two weeks and according to ESPN, it marks the first time since the 1970 merger that a team has won three consecutive division games by three points or less. It gives Cincinnati its first 3-0 start in the division since 1989 with three wins pulled off in the last 22 seconds or less. "We've got no talent, just heart. No talent, just heart," bellows left tackle Andrew Whitworth as he walks off the field.

Lewis chokes up in his news conference as he recalls the Post-it notes around the Zimmer home when he went to Zimmer’s aid Thursday night after he found his wife stricken. The notes Vikki writes to remind herself to bake some stuff for the players.  “I had a gut feeling he wanted to be out there,” says cornerback Leon Hall after he picks off Flacco’s last desperate heave on an over-the-shoulder interception with four seconds left to end it at the Bengals 17. “A lot of guys just would have called it quits for the week. But Zimmer’s a special kind of guy. It was definitely an emotional moment for everybody.” Safety Chris Crocker, plucked off the street by Zimmer last year after they hit it off in Atlanta two years ago, is part of a secondary that jams the passing lanes with seven and eight men and has Flacco unsure where to go. "I know it was a game for the division lead, but to see Zim on the sidelines was more uplifting than words can express," Crocker says. "You can't even put a quote on that. Just seeing him and the game he called, he put us in position to make plays today.”

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