Winless Ravens on brink after wild loss to Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals put the first nail in Baltimore's season with Sunday's 28-24 win over the Ravens. Here's what you need to know:

  1. Baltimore is winless and wandering, starting 0-3 for the first time in franchise history. The Bengals, meanwhile, look like a legitimate threat to take the AFC North after winning a wild, back-and-forth affair on the road. The Ravens have only themselves to blame, erasing a 14-0 first-half deficit, but allowing the Bengals back in with one huge play after the next. Baltimore has plenty of work to do to fix a campaign ravaged by outrageous penalties, missed opportunities and a swiss-cheese defense that can't slow the pass. Their 0-3 start is no fluke.
  1. Andy Dalton came into the game as the only quarterback in the league without a turnover or a sack. Baltimore ended that streak with Will Hill's first-half takedown, Jimmy Smith's second-half pick and C.J. Mosley's recovered Dalton fumble that he turned into a 41-yard score. Still, Dalton made plenty of plays, throwing the ball aggressively downfield and hitting A.J. Green on ropes of 17, 31, 47 and 80 yards. Green played out of his mind, with a career-high 227 yards and two scores off 10 grabs. Dalton's 383 yards also marked a career high.
  1. The Ravens were helped by a Bengals squad that let the Ravens hang around for way too long. Quarterback Joe Flacco edged Baltimore back into game by aiming the ball repeatedly at 36-year-old Steve Smith, who tortured Cincy for 186 yards and two scores off a team-record 13 catches. Flacco also crossed 350 yards for the second straight week, but the burning concern is a ground "attack" that had no impact on the game. As for Smith, he should reconsider that promise to retire. Outside of Green, he was the best wideout on the field.
  1. Baltimore's undisciplined defense has legitimate issues. They were beaten at the point of attack for much of the game. After 10 penalties against the Raiders last week, the Ravens as a team were flagged another 13 times on Sunday -- with five infractions in the first quarter alone.
  1. Crockett Gillmore is becoming a week-to-week weapon for Baltimore. After 88 yards against the Raiders last week, the Ravens tight end again served as a reliable safety valve for Flacco. He's a headache for smaller corners and can't be tackled by a single defender.
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