Cincinnati 17, Baltimore 20
|Position Unit||First-Half Grade||Final Grade|
vs Cincinnati Week 10
Game Analysis for the Baltimore Ravens
Pass Offense: Baltimore struggled to move the football throughout this contest and much of the blame may rest with the offensive line. Quarterback Joe Flacco was hurried, hit and harassed on a regular basis by Cincinnati’s tenacious defense. Flacco was sacked five times, tossed two interceptions and lost a fumble. However he did throw two touchdowns and his 20-of-36, 140-yard performance proved to be good enough to win.
Run Offense: It is becoming apparent that the Ravens flat out cannot run the football. The Baltimore offense never seemed to get a good push off the ball and starting running back Ray Rice showed virtually no burst in this game. Rice finished the game with just 30 yards on 18 carries. Backup Bernard Pierce performed better (31 yards on eight attempts), but the longest run of the day came from backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Pass Defense: The Ravens defense made Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton a non-factor in the first half. However, Dalton responded with a pair of second-half scoring drives that gave his team life late in the game.
Baltimore’s biggest mistake came on the final play of regulation. Safety Brandon Ihedigbo tipped Dalton’s Hail Mary pass into the air where it was caught by Bengals wideout A.J. Green. Had he simply let the ball fall to the ground, Baltimore would have won in regulation.
Dalton finished the game just 24-of-51 for 274 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. He was sacked five times.
Run Defense: The Bengals were able to find some success on the ground against Baltimore. However, the Ravens did a nice job of preventing Cincinnati from breaking long runs or finding the end zone on the ground.
Bengals running backs BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard combined for 94 yards, but were unable to make game-changing plays when needed.
Special Teams: The Baltimore special teams unit was not overly impressive, but it did not make the types of mistakes made by its Cincinnati counterpart.
Punter Sam Koch averaged a respectable 37 yards per attempt and kicker Justin Tucker connected on his two field-goal attempts, including the overtime game-winner. It would have been nice to see punt returner Tandon Doss average more than five yards per return, but the unit’s overall lack of mistakes should be commended.
Coaching: Defensive coordinator Dean Pees called a masterful game against Cincinnati’s ninth-ranked offense (380.2 yards per game).
His unit dominated the football game for the better part of four quarters and is primarily responsible for the final outcome.
The coaching on the other side of the football was not quite as impressive. Head coach John Harbaugh and coordinator Jim Caldwell dialed up a couple of trick plays in the first half to get things going, but they completely abandoned the tactic in the second half.
It is also worth questioning the team’s decision to continue passing the ball with a fourth-quarter lead. While the running game was a disaster, passing the ball resulted in a Flacco fumble that gave Cincinnati possession at midfield.
First-Half Analysis for the Baltimore Ravens
Pass Offense: Pass protection was a problem for the Ravens in the first half. Quarterback Joe Flacco consistently found himself under pressure and was hit while throwing on his second-quarter interception.
However, Flacco made the most of his opportunities and helped offset the team’s lack of a running game.
Through two quarters, Flacco has completed nine of 18 pass attempts for 69 yards and two touchdowns with the one interception. While these numbers are not exactly impressive, it is worth noting that
Baltimore has drawn a number of Cincinnati penalties while passing the ball.
Run Offense: Running the football has continued to be a problem for the Ravens, and the first half of this game was no different.
Baltimore produced just 46 yards rushing in the first half with 18 of them coming on a reverse.
Pass Defense: Baltimore made life very difficult for Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the first half.
The Ravens harassed Dalton in the backfield and often found a way to separate his receivers from the football when he did have time to deliver a catchable pass.
Dalton was a dismal 8-of-21 in the first half for 47 yards and an interception.
Run Defense: With the team unable to effectively pass the football, the Bengals turned to the running game for production.
Fortunately, the Ravens found a way to prevent the Bengals from doing any real damage on the ground.
Cincinnati has managed to produce more yards on the ground (55) than through the air and the team’s two leading ball-carriers—Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis—have combined for a respectable four yards-per-carry average.
However, the Bengals will have a very difficult time trying to mount a comeback in the second half if the team is forced to rely on the run.
Special Teams: The Ravens special teams unit was solid in the first half, which helped to magnify the effects of the team’s smothering defense.
Punter Sam Koch helped Baltimore win the battle of field position, averaging 38 yards on on punts. Kicker Justin Tucker overcame swirling winds to nail his only field-goal attempt, a 36-yarder.
Coaching: Defensive coordinator Dean Pees deserves a lot of credit for putting his team in position to win. His decision to keep two defenders on Bengals wideout A.J. Green made Cincinnati’s passing attack a virtual non-factor.
Offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell mixed up the play calling to help compensate for Baltimore’s ineffective running game. His use of backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor was refreshing and it will be interesting to see what kind of tricks he decides to dial up in the second half.