"We still have one (improvement) we need to make, one we haven't done a good job of in the first two games, which is making sure we close out football games", Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. The Bengals answered with a score and on the next play, Baltimore turned it over on downs.
What a start it was for the Ravens in week one.
The Bengals are two games into the season and remain somewhat of a mystery.
"If I were to say 'no, ' I'd be lying", Ravens cornerback Brandon Carr said. "We've got a long way to go". But even though the Bengals (2-0, 1-0 AFC North) are undefeated, their identity is a bit more confusing than their stat line. The final game of a 7-9 finish became the start of an overhaul for their offense that finished last in the league.
For them, the last-minute touchdown in Baltimore became a starting point.
Green, a seven-time Pro Bowl player, had his most productive game ever, and the best start of any Bengal with the most touchdown receptions through two games in team history.
Hope did arrive, on the backs of an improved Flacco and a resilient but depleted defense, both sparking a Ravens rally. Joe Flacco was sharp going 25 of 34 passing for 236 yards with three touchdowns and no turnovers. His passer rating of 121.7 was his highest since 2014. All three are great receivers, Sneed was an unsung hero in New Orleans while a fit and, well, Crabtree would get into any team in the NFL.
This performance against Baltimore is a reminder that Green just might be the most underrated receiver in the NFL. The defense was suffocating as the unit did not allow a first down in the first half and held the Bills to 153 total yards. Ironically enough the Bengals were the reason why the Bills won the AFC wild card last season after taking down the Ravens in Week 17.
Due to injuries a couple years ago, or last season's offensive debacle with a awful offensive line and an early-season coordinator change, Green's numbers dipped.
Andy Dalton kept the Ravens out of the playoffs a year ago by throwing a long touchdown pass.
A second-half comeback wasn't almost enough as the Cincinnati Bengals held on for a 34-23 victory, riding a dominant start led by Andy Dalton's four touchdown passes. Green only caught five passes in the game, but he punished Baltimore down in the red zone, demonstrating why opposing defenses shouldn't match up with him one-on-one out of the slot; at first with a crossing route and then in the second quarter with an out route.
The Ravens had their streak of five straight Thursday night wins snapped. The second penalty, (an illegal hands to the face penalty by Terrell Suggs), extended a drive that was about to end in a field goal opportunity, which the Bengals capitalized on with their third touchdown of the game.