Bengals-Ravens: Signs of Dominance for the Bengals in First Half

Benjamin ConnerContributor IOctober 11, 2009

CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 04:  Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks on against the Cleveland Browns during their game at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 4, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Bengals defeated the Browns 23-20 in overtime.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Half Time for the Bengals-Ravens game and what have we learned so far? The most obvious is that the dominant Ravens’ defense looks to be vulnerable to the pass game the Bengals have thrown at them. Cedric Benson has continued to look good for the Bengals.

So far, the Bengals have only beat themselves on two key drops by Daniel Coats and Laveranues Coles for first downs, preventing the Bengals from moving the ball.  On a separate drive, Ed Reed had an amazing read and pulled off a pick six on a slant route intended for Ocho Cinco giving the Ravens their only touchdown before going into the half.

Why was Ed Reed able to get the pick six? First play of the game Coles had a drop for that should have been a first down. Since then Palmer has been throwing to everyone but Coles and has showed signs of brilliance. 

Ocho Cinco has been a go-to guy and had a very strong showing the entire first half. Unfortunately, Ed Reed showed up again late on a drive right before the half for the Bengals and knocked the ball out of Ocho Cinco‘s hands from behind. The Ocho had a huge gain and Ed Reed saved the Bengals from scoring drive going into the half and preventing the Bengals from taking a lead in the game.

As I predicted in my previous article, Flacco and Ray Rice are struggling with the 4-3 pressure they have not seen all season. The pocket that forms when playing the 4-3 is not allowing him to scramble as much as he has. When he has scrambled the Bengals D has been there.

If the Bengals stop the mental mistakes, stop getting holding calls on long gains that get called back, give a decent snap to Kevin Huber the holder for Shayne Graham so he can kick a decent field goal, the Bengals would be up 13-0. Instead of down 7-3.

Cedric Benson has over 50 yards rushing, almost as many receiving, the Bengals are spreading it out and the Ravens are not looking as dominant as they have all season.  Furthering the Bengals dominant first half of football is being led by Carson Palmer and his scrambling efforts and good plays.

The Bengals have showed dominance on both sides of the ball, and only when the Bengals have made mistakes has stopped them from moving the ball on the Ravens.


My play of the half:

Jonathan Joseph had a key red zone interception that saved the Ravens from furthering their lead on the Bengals on a pass intended for Todd Heap.