Bengals Get It Done In Baltimore

Cincinnati won an important AFC North contest Sunday in Baltimore with its key players playing well. That is news. Here's more.

The Bengals won an important AFC North Division-opening game on Sunday in Baltimore with their star players playing well.

That is news at crunch time for the normally crumbling Bengals, who have many past failures under the bright lights.

Sunday was not one of them, and every one saw it happen in broad day light.

Here's more on Sunday's Bengals win at M&T Bank Stadium, with some key storylines:

DALTON OVERCOMES

Persevering quarterback Andy Dalton kept Cincinnati unbeaten and dropped the winless Baltimore Ravens to a place they've never been: the very bottom after three games, with nary a victory.

Dalton, who overcame his first interception of the season, a lost fumble and two sacks, threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver A.J. Green with 2:10 left, and the Bengals defeated the Ravens 28-24, dropping Baltimore to 0-3 for the first time in franchise history.

The 3-0 Bengals, Dalton included, looked like they were going to be the Bengals of recent vintage by blowing a 14-0 lead. They trailed twice in the fourth quarter. But Dalton rallied them by exploiting the porous Baltimore pass defense. He finished 20-of-32 passing for 383 yards with three touchdowns. His top target was Green. The Pro Bowl receiver finished with 10 catches for a career-high 227 yards and two scores.

RARE RAVENS

Baltimore lost despite 362 yards passing from Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Flacco, who twice connected with wide receiver Steve Smith for scores. Smith had a whopping 13 catches for 186 yards, but it wasn't enough to prevent the Ravens from losing again.

Baltimore was the only existing NFL team never to start 0-3. Before this season, it had been a decade since the Ravens began with two straight losses.

BENGALS CONTINUE MASTERY

Cincinnati, meanwhile, has won four in a row in the series for the first time. Five of the last six have been decided by seven points or fewer.

WINNING UGLY

It wasn't necessarily pretty. Both teams were plagued by miscues and penalties. The Bengals were whistled nine times for 67 penalty yards. Baltimore was flagged 13 times totaling a robust 116 yards.

KEY PLAYS

After the Ravens went ahead for the first time Sunday, converting a fumble by Dalton into a 41-yard touchdown and a 17-14 lead with 6:49 left, Green immediately got free and caught a pass in stride that he turned into an 80-yard score. Green broke a tackle by Jimmy Smith, shook off Will Hill and took the ball into the end zone.

Baltimore answered with a 79-yard drive that featured two third-down conversions and ended with Steve Smith catching a 16-yard touchdown pass in front of Dre Kirkpatrick for a 24-21 Ravens advantage with less than four minutes left, plenty of enough time for Dalton to take the Bengals 80 yards in six plays. The Bengals' drive included an outstanding one-handed catch by Marvin Jones for 31 yards, just two plays before Green came up with the game-winner.

Baltimore trailed by two touchdowns in the third quarter before Jimmy Smith intercepted a pass in the end zone. That led to an 80-yard drive that cut the deficit in half. Baltimore added a field goal on its next possession to close to 14-10 with 13:27 to play.

Earlier, the Bengals twice missed opportunities to take a 21-0 lead. Less than two minutes before halftime, Cincinnati tight end Tyler Eifert had a fourth-down catch in the end zone overturned after replay review determined he never had possession of the ball. The Bengals' next possession had a similarly frustrating conclusion. After moving Cincinnati from its 29 to the Baltimore 10, Dalton threw his first interception of the season. Eifert did not have a reception in the game.

The Ravens moved to midfield, and faced a fourth-and-5. Coach John Harbaugh, who earlier called for a fake punt that was successful, opted to keep his offense on the field. It paid off. Steve Smith caught a sideline pass, twisted free and sprinted down the right side to get Baltimore its first points of the day.

The Bengals then went three-and-out for the first time, and the Ravens moved 62 yards, twice converting third downs, before Justin Tucker kicked a chip-shot 21-yard field goal.

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