The Cincinnati Bengals were simply overwhelmed by the high octane Baltimore Ravens offense as they were pummeled 44-13 in the season opener Monday night in Baltimore.
The Ravens (1-0) out gained Cincinnati (0-1) 430 to 322 and forced two Bengals turnovers, including a 34-yard interception return for a touchdown by Ed Reed.
The game started off poorly as the Ravens scored 10 first quarter points including a 9-yard Ray Rice touchdown run, while Cincinnati went three and out on its first drive.
The second drive resulted in a 34-yard field goal by Mike Nugent. Cincinnati held the ball for over six minutes after starting at its own 8-yard line. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had four carries for 21 yards on that drive and finished the day with 91 yards on 18 carries in his Bengals’ debut.
Baltimore responded by scoring for the third straight series when Joe Flacco connected with Anquan Boldin for a 34-yard touchdown just five plays into the drive.
Cincinnati answered with another long drive, this one starting at the 19-yard line. Cincinnati went for it twice on fourth and one and both times Green-Ellis converted. The second attempt came from the Baltimore 6-yard line when Bengals’ coach Marvin Lewis opted to go for it and was rewarded with a six yard score by Green-Ellis.
Nugent and the Bengals struck first in the second half as they opened with a 19-yard field goal. Cincinnati had three shots from Baltimore’s 8-yard line, but Andy Dalton was stopped at the 1-yard line on third down.
Flacco and the Ravens responded with a 10-yard TD to make it 24-13.
Cincinnati had a big play on the next drive and seemed to be on its way to score again. Andrew Hawkins picked up 20 yards on a reception, but Baltimore challenged that Hawkins was down. After a review the officials ruled that Hawkins was down and the Bengals only picked up six yards and were forced to punt.
Baltimore added a field goal to make it 24-13. It then jumped to 34-13 when Dalton was picked off by Reed for a Baltimore TD.
Cincinnati unraveled on the next drive as Ray Lewis forced Dalton to fumble after a sack and Baltimore recovered. The Ravens would make short work of the Bengals as a pass interference set the Ravens up at the 1-yard line for a Ray Rice TD run. Baltimore added another field goal in the fourth quarter to make it 44-13.
The Bengals return home next week for another AFC North showdown as they host the Cleveland Browns (0-4) who lost in the final minutes to Philadelphia on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 1:00 P.M. this Sunday.
Passing: CIN-Dalton (22-37, 221 yards, INT) BAL-Flacco (21-29, 299 yards, 2 TD)
Rushing: CIN-Green-Ellis (18 carries, 91 yards, TD) BAL-Rice (10 carries, 68 yards, 2 TD)
Receiving: CIN-Hawkins (8 catches, 86 yards) BAL-Dennis Pitta (5 catches, 73 yards, TD)
Turnovers: CIN-2 BAL-0
Penalties: CIN (3-41 yards) BAL (6-50)