Ravens top Ben­gals to earn first-place tie in AFC North

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS -

— 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-

BAL­TI­MORE

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

(KEN­NETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN/TNS)

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.

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