Bengals sweep Ravens to take back top spot in AFC North

10/27/2014 11:30 AM

Cincinnati finally got its first win in October and it was a big one. Sunday’s 27-24 victory made the Bengals 2-0 against the Ravens this year and helped Cincinnati reclaim first place in the AFC North.

Two Andy Dalton fourth quarter turnovers allowed the Ravens to rally for their first lead of the game at 24-20, but Dalton moved on from those mistakes and showed everyone why the Bengals are so confident in their quarterback. He led his team on a game-winning 10-play, 80-yard touchdown drive, ending with a one-yard sneak on fourth down. The sneak was set up by a 53-yard pass to Mohamed Sanu.

Marvin Lewis said Dalton showed off his biggest strengths with that final drive, “He can just block it out and go. That’s one of Andy Dalton’s best qualities, other than his accuracy at passing the football… but his ability also to block out the negative play.” Offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth agreed with Lewis, “he’s always had that kind of resolve. I used to say that the best and worst thing about him is that he’s probably one of the most stubborn people I know. He just doesn’t flinch… He’s just a stubborn guy who’s not going to quit believing in himself and he’s going to find a way to be successful.”

Dalton finished the game 21 of 28 for 266 yards and ran for a career-high two touchdowns. Sanu finished with five receptions for 125 yards.

The Ravens final possession included a game-defining controversial penalty when Steve Smith was flagged for offensive pass interference after knocking George Iloka to the ground. Without the flag, Smith ran into the end zone to score and give the Ravens the lead. But official Rick Patterson threw the flag, calling offensive pass interference and sending the Ravens back to their own 10-yard line with only two downs remaining. The Ravens and Bengals will, of course, have different opinions about that call. Iloka is confident the right one was made, “I just know he knocked me off. It doesn’t really matter how much force you use, if it’s enough to throw me off what I’m trying to do, it’s a flag… Is it a strong call? That’s between whoever needs to figure that out but I thought it was a great call… It was the right call.”

Former NFL head of officials Mike Pereira explained on TV that it was the right call and Smith pushed off. He said, “it wasn’t a flop, it was a good call and a gutsy call by the official who made the right call.”

The Bengals now sit 4-2-1 and on top of the division as they prepare for Jacksonville this week.


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