What hope was there for a happy ending with Flacco's history of inefficiency, Mosley's absence and, maybe worst of all, the team's three-touchdown deficit in hostile AFC North territory?
The Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, and all of Green's future opponents in 2018 have certainly been put on notice after this jaw-dropping display of touchdown-scoring madness.
As a result of the Bengals' incredible first half play, especially that of Dalton, many historical comparisons of this team have been stated, but many are also tempering their expectations.
Sure, it's only two games but the impressive performance against division rival Baltimore, in which the Bengals bolted to an early 21-point lead, was a start contrast to a year ago. Now linebacker C.J. Mosley, the quarterback of the Ravens' defense, had left the game with a bone bruise.
Despite a Ravens' resurgence, Cincinnati held on and now stand alone at the top spot in their division, thanks to the massive contribution from their seven-time Pro Bowler.
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It's hard not to wonder where the Cincinnati Bengals offense and quarterback Andy Dalton would be without star wide receiver A.J. Green. And all throughout, the Cincinnati Bengals' defense came up with big plays in a 34-23 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night. Flacco threw a pair of touchdown passes, including a 21-yarder to John Brown that cut it to 28-23 with 9:35 left.
No, the Ravens don't get kudos for making a late push to make the score seem closer than the game was. He's averaged 89.5 rushing yards and 28.5 receiving yards with 1 touchdown through two games.
However, the Bengals have enough depth to withstand the loss of Johnson, especially in the form of Sam Hubbard. It felt weird. The knee was hurting.
For as long as he has led the franchise in Baltimore, Flacco has struggled against the Cincinnati Bengals. And the Bengals were effective running the ball, too, with Joe Mixon (21 carries for 84 yards) and Giovani Bernard (6-27) averaging better than 4 yards a carry. Following a quick three-and-out right before half, the Ravens took over again - after failing on fourth down the possession earlier - and scored to make it a two-TD game.
The Ravens have always been known for their physical play, but the Bengals showed plenty of toughness of their own.