The Cincinnati Bengals have had a great season and they wanted to end it with a bang, as they looked to go 8-0 at home this year, and 11-5 for the season; something they haven’t don’t since 2005. To reach these goals they would have to beat Baltimore Ravens, who had beaten the Bengals a few weeks back. To top it all off, a win against the Ravens would eliminate the Super Bowl Champs from playoff contention, and deny this division rival a chance to defend said title.
The game started off with a pair of field goals for the Ravens, but AJ Green helped his team take the lead with a 53-yard TD reception from Andy Dalton. Cincy would continue to dominate with ten straight points to take a 17-6 lead into halftime.
The Ravens unlike many teams who have faced the Bengals in Paul Brown Stadium this year would not bow out, as they would score 11 points the third quarter to tie the game.
The Bengals however took over the game in the fourth quarter as Dre Kirkpatrick would intercept Ravens QB Joe Flacco twice and score a TD during one of his returns. Overall the Bengals would score 17 unanswered points in the quarter defeating and eliminating the Ravens from the playoffs 34-17.
For the Ravens this is the first time they will miss the playoffs with quarterback Joe Flacco at the helm. Last year’s Super Bowl Champs will have to wait until next season to get back into the post season. It was not a great game for Flacco as he only threw for 192 yards and one TD pass despite 50 pass attempts (he completed 30 passes). This is what the Bengals defense is all about, as they make good QBs look bad when they want to.
The Bengals are now 8-0 this season at home, and are 11-5 to finish the season which is the best record since 2005. This is also the fourth time in 5 years that the Bengals have made the playoffs, as they have won the AFC North. Luckily for the Bengals, the familiar nemesis of the Houston Texans won’t be waiting for them this year.
Andy Dalton had a very unique day on Sunday. He was intecepted four times which is the most he has had since the Bengals loss to the Ravens on November 10th. This could be some concern for the Bengals, but we need to remember the past four games before this one he was only intercepted once and we all know that the Bengals won’t see the Ravens D for the post season.
On the good side of the game for Dalton he went 21/36 passing for 281 yards with two TD passes and rushed for 23 yards and ran for a TD as well. Andy Dalton also broke some of Carson Palmers (remember that guy?) Bengal records, breaking the club records for passing yards and TDs in a season. Say what you want about Dalton, but I prefer him to Palmer and he has brought this team to three straight playoffs appearances now.
As for the other stars of the game BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for 66 yards, Andrew Hawkins had 3 receptions for 74 yards, Marvin Jones and AJ Green each had 61 yards and a TD. On defense Vontaze Burfict had 9 tackles and Dre Kirkpatrick had 4 tackles, 3 deflections and two interceptions.
Although there are some injuries on D this team is deadly on both sides and with their first playoff game guaranteed to be at home, they could be very hard for their opponent to handle.
The Bengals opponent will be the San Diego Chargers. While the Bengals beat the Chargers 17-10 in San Diego on week 13 this season, it will be interesting to see these two teams play each other as the playoffs are a whole new ballgame. The Chargers are coming in hot, but as I mentioned before the Bengals haven’t lost at home yet.
The Bengals have not won a playoff game since 1990, and this team will have to try their hardest and show us that third time really is the charm, because if they don’t win there will be a lot of questions that will have to be answered and the first one might be the status of their head coach Marvin Lewis, but that’s a topic for another time. Now the Bengals just have to prepare for this game against the Chargers properly, take it one game at the time and hope for the best.
Either way the Bengals had a great regular season and made their fans proud to say WHO DEY!
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