Joe Flacco and Andy Dalton were the starting quarterbacks for today’s key showdown between the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals. Each team had something at stake, as the Ravens needed a win and some help to snag a wild card spot while the Bengals needed a win and some help to possibly move up in the AFC and get a first round bye.
The two quarterbacks combined for seven interceptions. Don’t even bother to pretend that you’re surprised.
You could argue that the Ravens missed their chance to grab a hold of this game in the first few drives of the game. Dalton ended both of the Bengals’ first two possessions with interceptions, but the Ravens were only able to convert the opportunities into two field goals. Cincinnati then ended the first half on a 17-0 that featured sharp play from Dalton, including a beautiful long pass to A.J. Green.
In the third quarter it looked the Ravens, thanks to more help from the Bengals, might be able to come back. They converted their third field goal of the game and then got excellent field position after a 10-yard punt from Shawn Powell. After a Marlon Brown TD and a two-point conversion, it was a tie game.
The fourth quarter tilted back into Cincinnati’s favor, as they once again scored 17 unanswered to bury the Ravens. Flacco, who was fighting through an apparent shoulder injury, threw all three of his interceptions in the final quarter.
It would hardly be fair to say Flacco cost the Ravens a game in which they were out-gained 392 to 222. The Bengals overwhelmed Baltimore in each facet of this one, and it would have been a laugher if not for Dalton’s mistakes. Still, it is interesting to note that, one year removed from being a Super Bowl hero, it was Flacco who flopped when it mattered as Baltimore’s season came to an end.
The Bengals will now wait for the results of this afternoon’s contest between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots to find out if they will have a first round bye. With the loss, the Ravens are officially eliminated because the Pittsburgh Steelers won against the Cleveland Browns.