Bengals drop Ravens to 0-3 with late TD
BALTIMORE (AP) Andy Dalton kept the Cincinnati Bengals unbeaten and dropped the winless Baltimore Ravens to a place they’ve never been before.
Dalton threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green with 2:10 left, and the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Ravens 28-24 Sunday, dropping Baltimore to 0-3 for the first time in franchise history.
The Bengals (3-0) blew a 14-0 lead and twice trailed in the fourth quarter before Dalton brought them back by repeatedly picking apart the porous Baltimore pass defense.
Dalton went 20 for 32 for 383 yards and three touchdowns. His favorite target was Green, who finished with 10 catches for a career-high 227 yards and two scores.
The Ravens lost despite getting 362 yards passing from Joe Flacco, who twice connected with Steve Smith for touchdowns. Smith had 13 catches for 186 yards, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Ravens from losing again.
Baltimore was the only existing NFL team never to start 0-3. Before this season, it had been a decade since the Ravens began with two straight defeats.
Cincinnati has won four in a row in this AFC North rivalry for the first time. Five of the past six games have been decided by seven points for fewer.
After the Ravens went ahead for the first time, converting a fumble by Dalton into a 41-yard touchdown and a 17-14 lead with 6:49 left, Green immediately got free and caught a pass in stride that he turned into an 80-yard score. Green broke a tackle by Jimmy Smith, shook off Will Hill and took the ball into the end zone.
Baltimore answered with a 79-yard drive that featured two third-down conversions and ended with Steve Smith catching a 16-yard touchdown pass in front of Dre Kirkpatrick for a 24-21 advantage with just under four minutes to go.
That was plenty of enough time for Dalton to take the Bengals 80 yards in six plays. The drive included an outstanding one-handed catch by Marvin Jones for 31 yards, just two plays before Green came up with the game-winner.
Baltimore trailed 14-0 in the third quarter before Jimmy Smith intercepted a pass in the end zone. That led to an 80-yard drive that cut the deficit in half, and Baltimore added a field goal on its next possession to close to 14-10 with 13:27 remaining.
Earlier, the Bengals twice missed opportunities to take a 21-0 lead.
Less than two minutes before halftime, Cincinnati tight end Tyler Eifert had a fourth-down catch in the end zone overturned after replay review determined he never had possession of the ball.
The Bengals’ next possession had a similarly frustrating conclusion. After moving Cincinnati from its 29 to the Baltimore 10, Dalton threw his first interception of the season.
The Ravens subsequently moved to midfield before facing a fourth-and-5. Coach John Harbaugh, who earlier called for a fake punt that was successful, opted to keep his offense on the field.
The move paid off. Steve Smith caught a sideline pass, twisted free and sprinted down the right side to get Baltimore its first points of the day.
Cincinnati then went three-and-out for the first time, and the Ravens moved 62 yards – twice converting third downs – before Justin Tucker kicked a 21-yard field goal.
Both teams were affected by penalties. Cincinnati was flagged nine times for 67 yards, and the Ravens were cited for 13 infractions totaling 116 yards.
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