The bitter rivalry between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens returned to the limelight on Thursday, Sept. 13 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. After failing to win a game in the playoffs for 15 seasons, the stakes are high for the Bengals to plow their way through the competition. Meanwhile, the pressure was also on for the Ravens, as their coach, John Harbaugh, was nearly fired at the end of the 2017 season.
The Bengals immediately established themselves as an unstoppable force when wide receiver A.J. Green scored two touchdowns in the first quarter, tossing one of the scoring balls to an ecstatic fan in the stands. In retaliation, the Ravens attempted strong drive toward the Bengals’ end zone only to have their offense receive a penalty and get continually thwarted by defenders. The crowd was outraged, demanding another penalty when Bengals rookie Billy Price was tripped and sustained an injury.
The ball was returned to the Bengals briefly, but the Ravens’ defense showed equal iron with Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert being tackled near the end zone and slot receiver John Ross getting nowhere when faced with a wall of ready Ravens.
In the second quarter the Bengals came out fighting, eating away yards and hammering away at the Ravens’ end zone. Joe Mixon couldn’t punch the ball in, but A.J. Green struck again bringing the score to 21-0 after a subsequent extra point. The ball was then punted back to the Ravens who marched down the field, scoring their first touchdown before halftime.
With the score at 21-7, the Bengals had multiple penalties go their way, along with an impressive effort from wide receiver Tyler Boyd, who was responsible for 53 yards and the touchdown catch on the drive. The battle was heated, the crowd was roaring, and it wasn’t even half time.
On the Ravens’ next first-and-10, running back Alex Collins broke two tackles in a strong effort to get to the first down. Though he didn’t succeed, it became an ongoing trend for the Ravens throughout the rest of the game. The Ravens relinquished the ball back to the Bengals after an incomplete throw on the third down, only to have the Bengals punt it back after an incomplete pass on their own third down. With the ball back in their hands and the score still at 21-7, the Ravens had another chance to march down the field and score. Twice they came up short before tight end Mark Andrews brought the score to 28-14 by half time.
Despite the Ravens’ spirited efforts in the second half including more impressive running by Collins and a touchdown by wide receiver John Brown bringing it to 28-23, they couldn’t catch up to the Bengals’ well-established lead.
The Bengals went on to kick two field goals which topped off their 34-23 victory and sent them with rousing cheers by spectators to the top of the AFC North standings heading into week three of the regular season.