The Bengals essentially gave the Ravens a touchdown in the first quarter when safety Reggie Nelson crashed into Jacoby Jones for a 48-yard interference penalty. They aided the Ravens' next scoring drive with a 15-yard facemask penalty. The Bengals finished the first half with an astonishing 114 yards on seven penalties. And that was only the beginning of their woes. Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton sent errant passes all over M&T Bank Stadium. In the second quarter, Ravens safety James Ihedigbo waited patiently in open space as a Dalton pass floated directly into his arms. That interception, one of three on the day, set up another easy Ravens touchdown. Dalton played the best football of his career the first half of this season. But against the Ravens, he looked like the uncomfortable rookie of two years ago. The Bengals are a wounded team. They faced the Ravens without their best player, defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who's one of eight Bengals dealing with season-ending injuries. Starting linebacker Ray Maualuga and tight end Jermaine Gresham were also inactive. Cincinnati earned its significant advantage in the divisional race and may hold the lead simply because the Ravens and Cleveland Browns are too flawed to rally. But if the Bengals aren't any better than we saw in Baltimore, the race will at least remain interesting.
Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun