Andy Dalton: "It starts with me."
-On Opening Day of their 50th anniversary season the Bengals had no time dwell on the wrong side of history they had just committed in Sunday's loss to the Ravens by 20-0 at Paul Brown Stadium, scene of Thursday night's suddenly next must-win game against the Texans.
After the first home shutout loss in the 15 seasons of the Marvin Lewis Era, they were dealing with what seems to be their first major injury of the year. The fear is right guard Trey Hopkins suffered a major injury late in the first half, giving T.J. Johnson a promotion. And another unbelievably tough break for Hopkins, who worked his way back to a starting spot this season after breaking his leg in 2014 during a promising rookie preseason …
-After the second-lowest passer rating of his career, a frigid 28.4 behind only the infamous 2.0 of three years ago, quarterback Andy Dalton took the blame.
"I didn't give us a chance to score the points we needed to win," Dalton said. "It starts with me." …
It's as frustrating as you've ever seen Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, the target of two of Andy Dalton's four interceptions.
"I can't ever remember getting shut out," said Green, and why should he? He was inactive for the only shutout in the Green-Dalton Era on Oct. 19, 2014 in Indianapolis …
-Never mind it is the first Ravens' shut out of the Bengals since 2001, last of three straight hatched by defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis in Baltimore. It can't be any surprise the last time the Bengals allowed four sacks and committed five turnovers was against these Ravens on Dec. 7, 2003 in a 31-13 loss in Baltimore during Lewis' first season. Or that Terrell Suggs, who had two sacks Sunday, had two sacks that day as a rookie when left tackle Levi Jones went out of the game with a knee injury …
-The killing play, the 48-yard touchdown pass from a shot-putting Joe Flacco to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on third-and-seven on the first play after the two-minute warning of the first half that made it 10-0, came on what both cornerback Darqueze Dennard and safety George Iloka called a pick play. To press box observers, it didn't look illegal since there was no contact, and both Dennard and Iloka indicated it was a clever call.
Flacco told the media in the Ravens' locker room he saw blitz and the middle of the field was open.
Dennard, who lined up in the slot opposite Maclin, said the receivers splits weren't as tight as they usually are for a play when one receiver frees up another by screening him. It's a penalty if there's contact, but there was just enough space to free Maclin fairly cleanly, yet make it tight on Dennard and Iloka. Tight end Benjamin Watson got in Dennard's way in a man-to-man look.
"I didn't see him," Dennard said of Watson. "I didn't see him until late …They were in regular formation. It was on different levels and it was spread out. I just got rubbed."
Like Dennard said, a man-to-man defense is tailor-made for a pick play.
"Everybody's eyes are on their own player, so it's easier instead of a zone," he said.
Iloka: "They called a good play ... If they call a pick play that catches you in the right kind of coverage and leverage, they can get you. It happens."
Cincinnati Bengals host Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium in week 1 of the regular season 9/10/2017