Flacco, Palmer Lead In Ravens Win

Bleacher Report Senior Writer ISeptember 7, 2008

Joe Flacco threw for 129 yards and rushed for a 38 yard touchdown as the Baltimore Ravens defeated their rival Cincinnati Bengals, 17-10.

Head coach Jon Harbaugh was very happy about winning his debut and grateful.

"It's a thrill," Harbaugh said. "I'm appreciative of (owner) Steve Bisciotti, (general manager) Ozzie Newsome and the rest of the Ravens organization for giving a no-name a chance to be a head coach in this league. We have a long way to go, but this is a good start."

Flacco, a rookie, was forced into the starting quarterback job because of injuries to Troy Smith and Kyle Boller.

"This is just a beginning for Joe," Harbaugh said.

"It's just football. It's a lot of fun, though, just like it's always been," said Flacco, the 18th overall pick in the NFL draft. "I think our offense was in control all day. And obviously we had a lot of help from our defense."

The Ravens defense was outstanding and the Bengals stars were completely shut down.

Carson Palmer was just 10-of-25 with 99 yards and one interception. It was only the third time in his career he was held to under 100 yards in a game. It was also only the 12th time he didn't throw a touchdown pass.

TJ Houshmandzadeh, who had 112 catches last year, had three in the season opener and was shut down by Chris McAlister, who had the lone pick in the game.

Chad Ocho Cinco (Chad Johnson) didn't record a catch in the first half. He recorded his first catch late in the third for 22 yards but didn't make another reception.

Ocho Cinco praised defensive coordinator Rex Ryan's defense.

"Two thumbs up to him and what they did today. It was unbelievable, and I told him after the game," Ocho Cinco said. "I don't know what they were playing. That's some playground defense."

Cincinnati's only touchdown was a defensive one. Deep in Cincinnati territory, Ray Rice ran up the middle for twelve yards. However, he fumbled. Cornerback Jonathan Joseph picked it up and ran it back 65 yards for a touchdown.

The Ravens got off to a bad start. They got the ball first and Todd Heap fumbled two plays later. The Bengals had a huge momentum swing and moved the ball deep into Baltimore territory, but Carson Palmer was intercepted by Chris McAlister and the Bengals explosive offensive never clicked again.

The Ravens scored later on a double reverse to Mark Clayton on the left sideline for a 42 yard score. Later in the half, Chris McAlister came up big again, recovering a fumble that led to a field goal by Matt Stover. Shayne Graham responded with one of his own, making it 10-3 Baltimore at the half.

The Ravens got a huge touchdown the next quarter. On the Bengals 38, Joe Flacco dropped back to pass, and had no one open. Flacco is a rather slow runner, but still managed to punch it in 38 yards for a touchdown and the Ravens took a 17-3 lead. The Ravens got the ball back after a stop and were deep in Cincinnati territory before Ray Rice fumbled and Joseph picked it up and scored.

The Ravens then faced a much needed stop. It was 4th-and-one on the Ravens 25, Bengals with the ball. Chris Perry tried to punch it in for the first-but was stopped! Haloti Ngata stopped him and then the Ravens ran it down the middle the rest of the drive and the Ravens won, 17-10.