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Baltimore Ravens' D key in overtime win vs. Bengals

Joe Flacco and the inept Ravens offense kept the Cincinnati Bengals in the game into overtime, but Baltimore's defense had enough backbone to hold on Sunday for a 20-17 victory.

The Ravens jumped out to a 17-0 halftime lead, thanks in large part to an underthrown flea flicker that produced a long pass-interference penalty. As the defense continued to swarm an overwhelmed Andy Dalton, Flacco managed just 35 yards on six consecutive possessions that resulted in five punts and one interception.

On NFL Network
NFL Replay
will re-air the Baltimore Ravens' 20-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals from Week 10 on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m. ET.

The reigning Super Bowl champs ultimately survived not just a game-tying Hail Mary touchdown catch by A.J. Green, but also a 10-play Bengals drive bordering on field-goal range to open overtime.

Although the Ravens are now just one game behind the Bengals in the loss column, Baltimore remains a team without an identity. The defense is good, not great. The offense's two highest-paid players -- Flacco and Ray Rice -- averaged 3.9 yards per pass and 1.7 yards per rush, respectively, on Sunday.

The AFC North is up for grabs entering a Week 11 matchup in which the frisky Browns have a chance to sweep the season series from a Bengals team barely hanging on to first place.

Here's what else we learned in Sunday's game:

  1. Andy Dalton is who we thought he was: the dictionary definition of average. His four-game streak of 300-yard performances ended with a thud, as the Bengals generated more penalty yards than total yards at halftime. Outplayed by a quarterback who averaged less than 4 yards per attempt, an indecisive Dalton sailed passes, made bad decisions and took five sacks. The pressure is on Dalton to avoid a late-season morass for a third consecutive year.
  1. Ray Rice insists he's 100 percent healthy and has not lost a step this season. In which case, his descendent average of 2.51 yards per carry has to be grave concern for the Ravens' coaching staff. It's been months since we've seen Rice make defenders miss in the open field.
  1. We mentioned on Friday's "Around The League Podcast" that the Ravens need to get Tandon Doss more involved in the offense. The receiving corps is muddled behind Torrey Smith, as Jacoby Jones isn't cutting it as a true No. 2. Doss has been strong with the ball in his hands this season. He has the potential to add a much-needed playmaking element to the wounded passing attack.
  1. Similarly, the Bengals aren't doing their offense any favors by opening the game with BenJarvus Green-Ellis as the lead back. Dalton didn't move the ball Sunday until Giovani Bernard took on a featured role in the second half.
  1. After a four-game stretch of games under 65 yards receiving, A.J. Green now has five straight with more than 100 thanks to a 51-yard Hail Mary touchdown that sent the game into overtime.
  1. Injured middle linebacker Rey Maualuga might have been "Wally Pipped" by Vincent Rey, who was arguably the best defensive player on the field. Rey recorded as many sacks Sunday (3) as Maualuga has produced in 68 career games. Rey also led the team with 15 tackles and three passes defensed.

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