Ravens defense shines in 20-0 win against Bengals

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Sep 10, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Baltimore Ravens free safety Lardarius Webb (21) reacts after he intercepts a pass from Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (not pictured) in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens started their 2017 season with a week one win against the Bengals in Cincinnati. Ravens 20 – Bengals 0. This was an incredible way for the Ravens to start the season, considering they haven’t won in Cincinnati in the past 5 match-ups. The Ravens defense made sure to win it in dominant fashion. They didn’t allow a single point. The last time the Ravens did that was back in 2009 when they had hall of famers like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. It’s going to be a long season, but the Ravens have started with a tremendous first step in the AFC North race.

Offense? You mean run game.

If you enjoy tough football, this was a fun game to watch. The Ravens were relentless in the ground attack. Joe Flacco only threw 17 times, the fewest attempts in his career.

The offense strung together a first great drive with the the help of Danny Woodhead. They kept the chains moving and drove down to the Bengals red zone. Woodhead had three receptions for 33 yards as the Ravens marched down into scoring range. In the red zone, Flacco passed the ball to Woodhead and one of the top items on the list of things Ravens fans hoped wouldn’t happen was checked off. As Woodhead made a cut in his route, it looks like he suffered a hamstring injury. If it does end up being a hamstring injury, Woodhead will most likely miss four to six weeks.

After the first drive and a 48 yard touchdown to Jeremy Maclin, their weren’t any signs of life in the passing game. This wasn’t a bad thing, the Ravens offense played winning football. They were converting 43% of third downs and only turned over the ball once. With some key turnovers due to exceptional play from the Ravens defense, the Ravens were able to put up two touchdowns and two field goals.

The Ravens didn’t light up the field on offense, but they certainly made sure they weren’t going to lose this game.

This defense is legen… great. This defense is great.

The Ravens defense did everything possible to make sure the Ravens won this game. They didn’t allow a single point, had five sacks, created five turnovers and only allowed 221 yards on offense.

Za’Darius Smith was looking to be playing very well  until a pretty serious looking knee injury. Smith will likely miss significant time. Tim Williams has to be the next man up and hopefully we will get to see some flashes from the third-round pick.

There wasn’t a single group of the Ravens defense that didn’t play well. It’s hard to tell whether the secondary played outstanding or the front seven was dominant. It’s apparent that the Ravens defensive stats are going to continue to come from great team play. Most of the interceptions were caused by tipped balls from the front seven and most of the sacks looked to be due to great secondary play. One stat the Ravens usually struggle with is keeping A.J. Green from being a dominant force. A.J. Green only had 74 yards and that is something that the entire Ravens defense can hang their hat on.

Most Valuable Player

Terrell Suggs had an extremely impressive game. He was directly responsible for interceptions and had a pair of sacks. Film will tell whether those sacks were due to phenomenal secondary play, but Suggs definitely went out and proved he’s not slowing down.

On to Browns

The Ravens have begun the season in superb fashion. The defense is going to need to come out and put in great performances week in and week out. Outside of injury, it doesn’t look like there is any reason they shouldn’t. Flacco and company still have significant room to grow on offense, but as most key players missed significant preseason time, this is to be expected. The Ravens now look forward to the Browns and once again will look to come out with something to prove.

 

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