Tale of the Tape on the Ravens' key fourth-down stop in overtime vs. Bengals
Each week, blogger Matt Vensel breaks down a critical play, sometimes with the help of Ravens players and coaches, from that week's game. Today, he looks at the fourth-down tackle of Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard in overtime during Sunday's 20-17 win over the Bengals.
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1.( November 12, 2013 )
After controlling their AFC North brouhaha with the first-place Cincinnati Bengals all afternoon, the Ravens, who at one point had led by 17 points, suddenly found themselves on the ropes in overtime.
The Bengals had landed a haymaker at the end of regulation with A.J. Green's Hail Mary touchdown and were hitting the Ravens with body punches on the first drive of overtime. The Bengals had picked up three first downs to move into Ravens territory, but the defense dug deep to force a fourth-down play at the 33-yard line. The Bengals would have had to kick into the wind, so they went for the first on 4th and 2.
"You can do one of two things," said strong safety James Ihedigbo, the one who deflected the ball to Green on his miraculous touchdown. "You can drop your head and say, 'Oh, man,¿ and give up another one. Or you can say, 'Hey, the next time they'll throw the ball in my vicinity, I'm going to make a play.'"
On 4th and 2, the Bengals lined up with one wide receiver on the left and two on the right, including Green, who was on the far right. Quarterback Andy Dalton was under center. Behind him in the backfield were rookie running back Giovani Bernard on the left and rookie tight end Tyler Eifert on the right.
The Ravens crowded the line of scrimmage, putting seven men in the box, including strong safety James Ihedigbo, who was lined up next to cornerback Corey Graham in the left slot. Free safety Matt Elam, who was back as a deep safety, was the only Ravens defender not within three yards of the line of scrimmage.