At First Glance: Bengals vs. Ravens writers give their first impressions of the Ravens’ 31-24 win.

Posted by on Sunday, November 20th, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, At First Glance, Garrett Downing, Ryan Mink, Sarah Ellison, Week 11 vs Bengals

John Eisenberg: The Ravens could only exhale when Andy Dalton’s last-gasp fell incomplete. Cincinnati’s rookie quarterback was gutsy, to say the least, in almost bringing his team back from a 17-point deficit. Kudos to Ravens’ defensive end Pernell McPhee for pressuring Dalton on the game’s final two plays, helping preserve the win. It was a day of big plays for the Ravens. They haven’t always made good on their plan to be more explosive in 2011, but they were in this game. Offensively, there was a 59-yard run by Ray Rice and passes of 49, 38 and 35 yards from Joe Flacco. Defensively, there was a return of the early-season opportunism, with three interceptions. The result was a crucial win that restores a more positive vibe going into Thursday night’s Harbaugh Bowl.

Ryan Mink: Gritty win by the Ravens all the way around and it’s a big one, putting them right back on top of the AFC North and the entire conference for now. Baltimore found its run game, got big plays in the passing game and the defense’s playmaking side came alive, notching three interceptions and critical pressure on the Bengals’ final drive. What a show for the Ravens’ rookies. Wide receiver Torrey Smith had six catches for 165. Cornerback Jimmy Smith notched a crucial pick (even though he did allow a long score later). Defensive end Pernell McPhee’s sack at the end sealed it. This one nearly slipped out of the Ravens’ hands, but they made enough plays to win one heck of a game.

Garrett Downing:
The Ravens sure like to make things interesting. This game looked like it was over at the start of the fourth quarter, but the Bengals never quit and two late scoring drives by Cincinnati kept Ravens fans on the edge of their seats. The Ravens were still able to come out on top, meaning they own the top spot in the AFC North and are tied with the best record in the conference (Steelers and Texans). The offense showed signs of excitement, as rookie Torrey Smith had a huge day, and Ray Rice was an instrumental part of the offense. The late Cincinnati scores were a little concerning, but overall there was plenty to be pleased with in this victory.

Sarah Ellison: You can’t say enough about how important that game was. The Ravens needed it with the AFC North on the line and they snatched the top spot with a balanced offensive attack, three forced turnovers and a huge last-minute defensive stand. Props to rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, who was impressive and brought this game back into reach. A week after Ravens fans cried out for more Ray Rice, who got five carries for 27 yards in Seattle, Cam Cameron fed him the rock 20 times for 104 yards and two touchdowns. And wow, Torrey Smith. His 165 yards (and one TD) is the third-biggest receiving day in team history. It could have been more, though, if his dreads weren’t so long. Time for a cut? The bitter taste from Seattle has been cleansed, but there’s not much time to celebrate. Harbaugh Bowl staring Jim’s San Francisco 49ers and John’s Ravens is only four days away.

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