Bengals Blog

News and analysis from ESPN Sports Radio 1300's staff on the Cincinnati Bengals.

Bengals vs. Ravens Week 1

Well it has started, with the season opening for our Cincinnati Bengals and once again it opens on the road. Starting the season in Baltimore never sits well with anyone, not only is this a Divisional Rival but since the Andy/AJ era, it has always been a loss. The daunting task of beating the likes of John Harbaugh and Ray Rice and Joe Flacco on their home turf can finally be put behind them, at least for this season. With all the news coming in and out about both teams before the season started, everything from contract extensions and injuries to domestic violence cases. This may be the first time the Bengals are opening the season with a player not in trouble with the law, the Ravens on the other hand. Well if you have been under a rock for the last 2 months then you didn't see Ray Rice dragging his unconscious fiance out of an elevator and you haven't heard about the new NFL punishment for domestic violence (6 game suspension for first offense and then a 1yr suspension for a second offense). With Rice's case, Roger Goodell levied a 2 game suspension (which is drawing lots of outrage but thats another story) starting on opening day, this undoubtebly helped the Bengals since Rice tends to rack up at least a 100yds when playing the Bengals at home. The sun was shinning, the stands full of fans and everyone was ready for the 1pm kickoff. Then the soccer game started, wait WHAT?!? Yes thats right, the Bengals decided to play soccer instead of football. The changing of the guard from Jay to Hue and the revamp of an already explosive offense and we got 5 FG's instead of 5 TD's. Granted the entire time the offense was stalling out before the endzone, the defense was keeping the Ravens from scoring too BUT and the but is in all caps because it took till the 4th quarter and the opposing team to score first before the Bengals could muster a touch down. Hue and Andy and the rest of the 1st team offense need to and probably are going to only be practicing scoring and giving Mike Nugent a rest. Each march down the field held the expectation of a very fluid touchdown yet would only yield 3 points at a time. The loss of Tyler Eifert in the 1st Q was a blow to the majority of the offensive scheme, there goes 1 of the 2 in the two tight end set not that Alex Smith is a competent TE but he doesn't catch like Eifert. The word on the street is Eifert is suffering from a dislocated shoulder which could have him out of play till well after the week 4 bye. Then it seemed like it was going to all fall apart, the heart and soul of the defense, Vontaze Burfict went down with a concussion. The sack leader from last year was doing what he does best, destroy an offense. He broke through the Ravens O-line and did a little Goldeberg spear action (you like that throw back, don't you) and hit Flacco so hard he self inflicted his concussion. As SOP for concussions now, he was escorted off the field and I'm sure a full course of test were run to determine the extend of the damage. With Burfict out for what could be an undetermined timetable, other members on the defense will need to step in and fill the physical and emotional hole left. One of those players that shined bright in the absence of Vontaze was Emanuel Lamur. Lamur had 11 tackles and his first INT . The first touchdown of the game came from Justin Forsett, WHO??? Remember there used to be this guy in 08 that was drafted by the Seahawks. Forsett has travelled around the league in his 7 years and on Sunday he was traveling all over the field. His TD was the spark the Ravens needed to mount an offensive comeback and when Flacco connected with Steve Smith (yes Steve Smith from the Carolina Panthers, its like Hines Ward came back but for the Ravens) in the 4th Q it looked like the nail in the coffin. Then it happened, Andy long bomb to AJ, the defender on Green gets at least a finger or two on the ball because the ball pops up instead of into AJ's hand. The Juggle is nothing to Green and we are used to seeing his gecko like hands glueing a ball into security. AJ juggles the ball just once and then jukes the safety twice, leaving him on the turf helpless to TD he can't stop. This game winning drive was less than a minute after the Flacco Smith TD. I honestly was skeptical, I'm not alone in saying we have seen our beloved Bengals crumble when its all on the line and with this win I might just have to get a cup of that orange Kool Aid in the thought we could and will win a post season game for the first time in 15 years. Lets all hope the home opener is without injuries and nothing but a blowout of what is a high scoring explosive Atlanta Falcons offense. WHO DEY!
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