The Baltimore Ravens held off their division rival Cincinnati Bengals, 31-24, on Nov. 20 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, to claim a lead in the AFC North ahead of the Bengals (6-4) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (7-3). Here’s how the game played out:

The Ravens clinched the win over Cincinnati when Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton was sacked on fourth down by Ravens rookie defensive end Pernell McPhee, giving the ball back to Baltimore with a 31-24 lead and only 28 seconds left in the game. The Ravens simply ran the rest of the game clock out for the win.

Most Outstanding Player(s) of the Game:
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco had one of his better performances of the season, completing 17 of 27 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns. He finished the game with a 105.5 percent passer rating.

Flacco found rookie receiver Torrey Smith for a team-high six receptions, 165 yards nd a touchdown. Smith’s 165 receiving yards set a new team record for rookie receivers. Running back Ray Rice also had a stellar performance, rushing for 104 yards and two touchdowns; he also caught five passes for 43 yards in the game.

Unsung Heroes of the Game:
The Ravens nearly gave up a 17-point fourth quarter lead, allowing Cincinnati to score 10 points in the final 10 minutes of the game. But Baltimore’s defensive unit just held off the Bengals, thanks in part to Pernel McPhee’s game-saving sack.

Rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith also made his presence felt, intercepting a pass midway through the third quarter. The interception marked the first big play made by the rookie cornerback who was selected by the Ravens in the first round of the 2011 Draft. Smith had missed most of the first half of the season due to injury.

More Game Notes:
Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton threw three interceptions to the Ravens secondary, but also made some big time throws against Baltimore’s stout defense, proving he has what it takes to be a decent starting quarterback in the NFL. Dalton completed 24 of 45 passes for 373 yards and a touchdown.

The Ravens defense played without longtime leader Ray Lewis for the first time since the 2007 season. But they still managed to create three turnovers, including an interception by veteran star safety Ed Reed. Reed also added five tackles in the game.

Next Up
The Ravens will see more home action against the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 24. Ravens? head coach John Harbaugh will be facing off against his brother, Jim Harbaugh, who coaches the 49ers.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor