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Ravens open up 34-13 lead after 3 quarters
Ed Reed also scored on an interception return for the seventh time in his career.
The winner of the season-opening matchup between divisional foes gets first place in the AFC North.
Andy Dalton was 4 for 5 for 59 yards on the opening drive of the second half, and his third-down keeper moved the ball to the Ravens‘ 1-yard line. But the Bengals had to settle for a 19-yard field goal by Mike Nugent, trimming Baltimore’s lead to 17-13.
Flacco then took the Ravens 89 yards on nine plays, floating a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dennis Pitta for a 24-13 lead. Pitta backpedaled and outleaped cornerback Leon Hall to snag Flacco’s timing-play throw.
On the next series, Ravens coach John Harbaugh successfully challenged a 20-yard completion from Dalton to Andrew Hawkins on third down, and the play was changed to a 6-yard completion because Ray Lewis touched the receiver when his knee was ruled down. Cincinnati was forced to punt and the Ravens took a 27-13 lead on Justin Tucker’s 40-yard field goal with 1:13 left in the third quarter.
Reed intercepted a tipped pass on the ensuing possession, returning it 34 yards for a 34-13 lead. Reed has the NFL record for career interception yards with 1,497, breaking the old mark of 1,483 by Hall of Famer Rod Woodson.
After Nugent’s 34-yard field goal 8 seconds into the second quarter cut Baltimore’s lead to 10-3, the Ravens responded by moving 82 yards in five plays and going up 17-3 on Flacco’s touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin.
Boldin split safeties Reggie Nelson and Taylor Mays to haul in the throw down the middle. The play withstood a prolonged replay review.
The Ravens scored on their opening drive, capped by a 46-yard field goal by Tucker, the rookie who wrested the job from incumbent Billy Cundiff in training camp. Flacco’s 52-yard pass down the middle to Torrey Smith on Baltimore’s first offensive play of the season set up the kick.
After a three-and-out by the Bengals, Flacco moved the Ravens 63 yards in 12 plays, often employing the no-huddle offense. Rice capped the scoring drive with the 7-yard scamper with 6:03 remaining in the opening quarter.
Before the game, a moment of silence was observed for former Ravens owner Art Modell, who died at 87 on Thursday. Baltimore players wore a decal honoring Modell on their helmets and T-shirts beneath their jerseys bearing the former owner’s photograph.
By Tom Fitton
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White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow