Bengals Gashed by Ravens Running Game in 17-10 Opening Loss

If Sundays opener vs the Ravens was any indication of how the Bengals 2008 season is going to go, buckle in, it’s going to be a long and bumpy ride.  The Bengals were beat up and down by the Ravens defense, falling 17-10 with an offense that was as flat as year old Pepsi.  Carson Palmer was awful, looking like a QB that was not on the same page at all with his teammates.  He completed just 10-of-25 passes for 99 yards, and was sacked twice and threw a pick.

Overall the Bengals offense was out of sync in a big way.  They held the ball for just 23:45, and were outgained 358 to 154.  They also were just 2-for-13 on third downs.  Their only points came on a Shayne Graham 43-yard field goal and a fumble that was picked up and returned 65 yards by Jonathan Joseph for a score with 10:15 remaining.

For a game the team only lost by a touchdown, they never really seemed in it.  The running game was led by new feature back Chris Perry, who ran for 37 yards on 18 carries, just 2.1 yards per carry.  As a whole, they put up just 65 yards. good for just 2.8 yards per carry.  The defense allowed 229 yards on the ground, and the Ravens O-line gave rookie QB Joe Flacco more than enough time to throw.

The Cincy defense never got a sack on Flacco, as he threw for 129 yards on 15-of-29 passing.  The Ravens scored on some trickery on a Mark Clayton 42-yard reverse that was done to perfection to make it 7-0 with 2:12 to go in the first quarter.  Matt Stover kicked a 21-yard field goal to make it 10-0 with 1:43 left in the first half.

Flacco gashed the Bengals run defense in the third quarter, going for 38 yards on a run that resulted in a second Ravens TD that made it 17-3.  The Bengals made it somewhat close with a score on Joseph’s return of a fumble, but they allowed the Ravens to run out the clock on a 13-play, 62-yard drive that ended regulation.

The Bengals will try to get back on track next Sunday vs a Titans team that was solid on defense in a win over the Jags at home.   Baltimore will look for 2-0 as they travel to Houston to play the Texans.

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