Ravens review: Three up, Three down vs Bengals
Turron Davenport | 9/29/2015, 11 a.m.
The Baltimore Ravens fell to 0-3 for the first time in their 20 year history. They had two leads late in the fourth quarter but gave up them up to the Bengals both times. There were some positives to pull from this game, but unfortunately there were some negatives as well.
The continued excellence of Steve Smith Sr.
Steve Smith Sr. put the Ravens on his back and tried to will them to a victory. He turned the game around when he caught a five yard out on a fourth down with five yards to go for the first down. The play was designed to get the first down but Smith made the catch, broke a few tackles and raced 45 more yards to the end zone. Smith plays the game with aggression and really set the tone for the Ravens with his tenacious style of play. His 13 receptions tied a franchise record and his 186 yards were third most in Ravens history.
The defense was able to generate a pass rush
Dean Pees said that he chose not to try and manufacture a pass rush last week against the Oakland Raiders because he felt that the team didn’t play with energy. That wasn’t the case against the Bengals. Pees utilized both the corner and safety blitz multiple times. Will Hill was able to register his first career sack and it came on a safety blitz. His sack was also the first time Andy Dalton was sacked this season.
As per Pro Football Focus, Elvis Dumervil had six quarterback pressures to go along with his sack/fumble. The sack fumble led to a touchdown after C.J. Mosley picked up the ball and ran into the end zone. The defense was able to flush Dalton out of the pocket numerous times and sacked him twice. The Ravens had five hits on Dalton.
Michael Campanaro found success on punt returns
Campanaro was the sole punt returner for the Ravens against the Bengals. The team had been using Smith Sr. to return punts, which was a risk that Harbaugh wasn’t going to continue to take. Granted, Campanaro didn’t return a punt for a touchdown, that’s not something that happens frequently for anyone.
Campanaro did an above average job returning for the Ravens. His two returns for 35 yards gave him an average of 17.5 yards per return. One of his returns was for 21 yards. Some might question the fair catch inside the 10 yard line, but the ball carried him back and would have been downed inside the five yard line if he let it go.
Defense still gave up chunk plays
The Bengals were able to connect on multiple big plays in the passing game. Marvin Jones abused Rashaan Melvin during the first two Bengal drives of the game. Jones had a 32 yard reception on a third down before Melvin was benched in favor of Kyle Arrington. Arrington did a solid job against Jones until late in the fourth quarter when Jones caught a 31 yard pass that set up the winning touchdown by A.J. Green.