Dal­ton grabs the glory, but Green writes the story for surg­ing Ben­gals

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

CINCINNATI — Andy Dal­ton kept the Bal­ti­more Ravens out of the play­offs last year by throw­ing a long touch­down pass.

The Cin­cian­nati Ben­gals quar­ter­back sent them to an­other loss on Thurs­day night by throw­ing four more, get­ting the best of a de­fense that has be­dev­iled him for much of his ca­reer.

Dal­ton fired all four TD strikes in the first half — three to AJ Green — as the Ben­gals held on for a 34-23 vic­tory that made them the early lead­ers in the AFC North.

Dal­ton knocked the Ravens (1-1) out of post­sea­son con­tention last sea­son by throw­ing a 49-yard touch­down pass to Tyler Boyd in the clos­ing sec­onds of the fi­nal game in Bal­ti­more.

On Thurs­day, he carved up a de­fense that has more of­ten got­ten the up­per hand in their ri­valry, driv­ing the Ben­gals (2-0) to an early 21-point lead .

“We came out hot,” Dal­ton said. “That’s ex­actly how we wanted to start the game. That’s a big one — puts us 2-0 to start the year and gives us a leg up in the di­vi­sion.”

Head­ing into the game, Dal­ton had thrown more in­ter­cep­tions (17) than touch­downs (15) against the Ravens, in­clud­ing a four­in­ter­cep­tion game at Paul Brown Sta­dium last sea­son.

He fin­ished 24 of 42 for 265 yards, throw­ing four touch­down passes for the fifth time in his ca­reer.

Green set the tone with scor­ing catches of 4, 28 and 7 yards on con­sec­u­tive pos­ses­sions, a ca­reer high.

Up­set that he fum­bled twice dur­ing a 34-23 win at In­di­anapo­lis last Sun­day, he caught ev­ery­thing near him dur­ing the Ben­gals’ early surge and fin­ished with five catches for 69 yards.

“It just hap­pened to fall that way,” Green said. “We were click­ing on all cylin­ders. We were in a groove.”

The Ravens switched up their cov­er­age on Green but couldn’t stop him in the open­ing half.

“We did all that and he still made some great plays,” coach John Har­baugh said.

Dal­ton’s 14-yard touch­down throw to Boyd made it 28-7 late in the first half.

Ravens QB Joe Flacco was sharp in an open­ing 47-3 win over the Bills, but couldn’t do any­thing against Cincinnati un­til the Ben­gals led by three touch­downs.

Flacco threw for a pair of touch­down passes, in­clud­ing a 21-yarder to John Brown that cut it to 28-23 with 9:35 left.

Flacco fum­bled with 2:42 to go — Shawn Wil­liams stripped the ball from be­hind — set­ting up a field goal by Randy Bul­lock that closed it out.

Flacco fin­ished 32 of 55 for 376 yards with two touch­downs, two in­ter­cep­tions and four sacks.

“We were com­ing in waves all night,” rookie de­fen­sive end Sam Hub­bard said. “Who­ever was fresh was go­ing out and mak­ing plays.”

Glory days

The Ben­gals hon­ored their 1988 Su­per Bowl team at half­time, their last team to go deep into the play­offs. They haven’t won a play­off game since the 1990 sea­son.

Andy Dal­ton,

Prime-time play­ers

The Ravens had their streak of five straight Thurs­day night wins snapped.

The Ben­gals are 6-14 in prime-time games since Dal­ton’s rookie sea­son of 2011 — 0-5 on Sun­day night, 2-5 on Mon­day night, 4-3 on Thurs­day night and 0-1 on Satur­day night.

AARIB DISTER / USA TO­DAY SPORTS SOC­CER

Cincinnati Ben­gals wide re­ceiver Tyler Boyd scores a touch­down af­ter break­ing a tackle against Bal­ti­more Ravens line­backer Pa­trick On­wua­sor in the first half of Thurs­day’s NFL game at Paul Brown Sta­dium in Cincinnati.

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