Every morning, Monday through Friday, blogger Matt Vensel will hook you up with reading material -- mostly on the Ravens but with some other Baltimore sports stuff, too -- to skim through as you slug down coffee and slack off at the start of your workday. That way he’ll have an excuse to do the same to start his workday, too.
Well, the Ravens couldn’t have started the regular season much better than that, could they have?
Monday night at “The Bank," the Ravens started the game with a 52-yard bomb to Torrey Smith and didn’t slow down until they were beating the Cincinnati Bengals by four scores. There was obviously a lot to like in the 31-point win over the Bengals, but we can hand out only three game balls to three Ravens standouts.
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Game ball No. 1: Joe Flacco. The fifth-year quarterback was in complete control as the Ravens, as expected, used their “sugar” huddle often. Maybe my favorite stat: He averaged an impressive 10.3 yards per attempt.
Game ball No. 2: Haloti Ngata. I’ve said all preseason that Ngata -- not Paul Kruger or Courtney Upshaw -- was the Ravens player who needed to step up most with Terrell Suggs sidelined. He did Monday with two sacks.
Game ball No. 3: Cam Cameron. Ravens coach John Harbaugh gave Cameron unsolicited praise after the game. Kudos to Cam for installing an offense that plays to Flacco’s strength, and he called a great game, too.
RUNNING IT BACK
Joe Flacco threw for 299 yards as the Ravens beat the Bengals, 44-13. … Mike Preston says they finally have an offense again. … The Ravens unveiled an unexpected offensive line combination. … Ed Reed is now the record-holder in all-time interception return yardage. … Rookie kicker Justin Tucker was flawless in his NFL debut.
RAVENS STUFF, BUT NOT FROM US
Joe Flacco rang in a season of change, wrote ESPN’s Ashley Fox. … Chris Burke of SI.com says the Ravens sent a clear message, which is also what Zac Jackson of Fox Sports said. … Ryan Wilson of CBS wrote about the Ravens harassing Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. … Here are some fun Flacco factoids from ESPN Stats and Info.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
One Cincinnati columnist says the Ravens humiliated the Bengals in their season opener. … Or did they get shelled? That’s an appropriate verb, too. … The Bengals defense is searching for answers after the blowout.
SHAMELESS PLUG(S) OF THE DAY
Here is what we learned about the Ravens on Monday night.
AWAY FROM THE GRIDIRON
Orioles closer Jim Johnson is having a dominant season, so why isn’t he being considered for the Cy Young? … Terps QB Perry Hills was named the ACC’s rookie of the week. … Michael Phelps, an 18-time gold medalist, and other Maryland Olympians were honored at a ceremony downtown.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
Who do you give your game ball to after Monday night’s win?