Ravens top Bengals to earn first-place tie in AFC North
— Playing in his first game since Oct. 9, Elvis Dumervil came up with the gameclinching play in the closing minutes for the Baltimore Ravens.
The veteran outside linebacker recorded a strip-sack of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton with just over a minute remaining. Lawrence Guy recovered the fumble for Balti-
more, which went on to win, 19-14, Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
“[It was] a dominating performance by some of our guys up front. Terrell Suggs was just absolutely dominating with all of the sacks, pressures, run defenses, batted balls … Elvis Dumervil came up with a strip sack at the end. He was bringing the heat the whole game,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “For him to play so well is satisfying for him, I’m sure, but it’s really satisfying for me and everyone else, too. We’re happy to have him back.”
Suggs recorded a pair of stripsacks. He leads the Ravens with eight sacks on the season. Dumervil forced the one fumble and recovered another in his return.
“Our guys on defense have been playing great all year. It was
definitely something I wanted to be a part of,” Dumervil said. “Today was great. The crowd was awesome. Being out there with my teammates — I couldn’t ask for a better day.”
The victory snaps a fivegame losing streak against the Bengals.
“This was a great win for us. Since I’ve been here, I haven’t beat Cincinnati,” inside linebacker C.J. Mosley said. “It felt great to get that monkey off the back.”
Kicker Justin Tucker
made all four of his field goal attempts, including three from more than 50 yards away. Tucker connected from distances of 52, 57, 54 and 36 yards.
The Ravens received the opening kickoff and promptly drove 75 yards on 11 plays. Quarterback Joe Flacco capped the series with a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Breshad Perriman in the back-right corner of the end zone.
“He did a good job of getting good position,” Flacco said. “I just wanted to give him a chance to make a play. I think it was a great play by him.”
Flacco completed 25 of
his 36 pass attempts for 215 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Running backs Kenneth Dixon and Terrance West each carried the ball 13 times, for 49 and 48 yards, respectively. Dixon, a rookie, also recorded 31 yards receiving.
“I thought they played winning football, but at the same time, I think the offensive guys would be the first to tell you that we want to get better,” Harbaugh said of a Baltimore offense that failed to find the end zone over the final 55 minutes. “We’re improving. We cut down on the penalties. We ran the ball pretty darn well at times. I
thought Joe was really good. When he dropped back, he was executing.”
Cincinnati scored its lone touchdown late in the third quarter on a three-yard strike from Dalton to tight end Tyler Eifert. Dalton completed 26 of 48 passes for 283 yards.
Baltimore’s top-ranked run defense held the Bengals to just 64 yards rushing.
The Ravens led 10-0 after one quarter and 16-3 at halftime thanks to a 54-yard kick by Tucker as the second quarter expired.
Dumervil’s strip sack of Dalton gave Baltimore possession with a 19-12 lead
and 1:05 remaining. After the Ravens failed to pick up a first down, Harbaugh elected to let the play wind down and take a delay of game penalty with 11 seconds left in the game.
Baltimore lined up in punt formation, only to have Sam Koch run backwards while his teammates deliberately held onto the Bengals’ defenders. Once the game clock reached zero, Koch stepped out of the back of the end zone for an intentional safety. The Ravens used the same play to secure a victory in Super Bowl XLVII.
“Man, if it ain’t tough, it ain’t the Raven way,” Suggs
said of the game’s ending. “I really wish we could’ve got of the field instead of scaring everyone and having Elvis make a fantastic play, but that’s the Raven way. It ain’t pretty, but we’ll take it.”
Baltimore improves to 6-5 with the victory to reclaim first place in the AFC North. The Ravens hold a head-tohead tiebreaker with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have an identical record. Baltimore is 4-0 against divisional opponents with road trips to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati awaiting in the season’s final two games.
Follow Sean Grogan on Twitter: @Sean_CecilWhig
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil, left, forces Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton to fumble to end the Bengals’ final drive on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Baltimore dropped Cincinnati, 19-14.