HAS THE SEASON STARTED YET?
The Ravens played the way they did for most of the preseason - sloppily. They became the first team in nine years to fumble three times in the same quarter, and were fortunate to come out of the first quarter trailing 9-0. Even after they seemingly had taken control of the game, Steve McNair's first interception (and fourth turnover) helped the Bengals go ahead 27-20. Kyle Boller's pass that bounced off Todd Heap's chest and was intercepted sealed the loss for the Ravens.
There was much talk leading into last night's game about how Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson would celebrate if he got into the end zone. When Johnson beat Ravens safety Dawan Landry on a 39-yard touchdown that followed McNair's second fumble, Johnson went to the sideline and pulled out a sports jacket with the letters H.O.F. (Hall of Fame) and the year "20??" on the back, and draped it over his uniform. Most were expecting a little more in the way of theatrics.
BAD KARMA IN CINCY
Forget Pittsburgh as a place that used to be a house of horrors for the Ravens. Paul Brown Stadium has been a nightmare for Brian Billick's teams of late, and not just because of his third straight loss and fourth in the past five years. B.J. Sams got hurt for the second year in a row More importantly, Ray Lewis injured his triceps, and Jonathan Ogden limped off in the second quarter after apparently reinjuring the hyperextended toe that kept him out during the preseason.
With McNair having one of the worst games of his career, and leaving in the fourth quarter with a reported groin injury, it will be interesting to see whether the Ravens turn to Boller. He didn't force overtime but threw two apparent touchdown passes to Heap. The first was disallowed on a questionable offensive pass-interference call against Heap, and the second, on third-and-goal from the Bengals' 2, bounced off Heap's chest and was picked off by Cincinnati's Michael Myers. A week after Boller signed a one-year extension, will the Ravens turn the offense over to him?