Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr.
What happened: The Ravens unveiled their new up-tempo offense to a "Monday Night Football" audience with quarterback Joe Flacco throwing for 299 yards and two touchdowns and Ray Rice scoring twice in the season-opening rout at M&T Bank Stadium. Wracking up 430 total yards of offense, the Ravens scored the game's final 27 points, a run highlighted by safety Ed Reed's 34-yard interception return for a touchdown. Star of the game: With questions about his contract status hanging over the season opener, Flacco played a near flawless game, completing 21 of 29 passing attempts without a turnover. His first throw of the game, a 52-yard bomb to Torrey Smith, set the tone. Turning point: The Bengals cut a two-touchdown deficit to four points early in the third quarter, but Flacco responded by hitting tight end Dennis Pitta for a 10-yard scoring strike. That started the string of 27 unanswered Ravens points. Key stats: Eight different Ravens caught passes. The Ravens allowed 129 yards rushing. The Bengals went 4 of 15 on third downs and committed two turnovers to the Ravens' one. Cincinnati was held scoreless the last 23:59 of the game. Quote: "Pay him whatever he wants," Ravens coach John Harbaugh joked when asked about Flacco. "Pay the man."
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Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam
What happened: Quarterback Michael Vick finalized a late Eagles scoring drive by plunging in from 1-yard out for the go-ahead points at Lincoln Financial Field. The loss left several Ravens blasting the replacement officials and prompted questions about the offensive play-calling. Rice got just 16 rushing attempts despite averaging 6.2 yards per carry. The Ravens also had third or fourth down and less than 2 yards six different times and passed each time, not converting a single first down. Star of the game: Vick accounted for 405 total yards and two touchdowns but he also turned the ball over three times. Meanwhile, the Ravens had no answer for tight end Brent Celek who caught eight balls for 157 yards. Turning point: The Ravens thought that they had put the Eagles away when wide receiver Jacoby Jones out-dueled standout cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha in the end zone for the second time, this one resulting in a 25-yard touchdown that would have given the Ravens a 27-17 lead with just over 5 minutes to play. However, Jones was whistled for a curious offensive pass interference call, leaving the Ravens with a six-point lead that Vick overcame with the late touchdown. Key stats: Flacco threw one interception and completed 8 of 25 passes in the second half. Rice had 152 yards of total offense. Rookie Justin Tucker hit three field goals, including a 56-yarder. Quote: "It's nothing about them, per se. We're not directly attacking them. But we are saying we need the guys that do their regular jobs. The time is now. How much longer are we going to keep going through this process?" Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said of the replacement officials.
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The Ravens' schedule before the bye week ended in an ugly manner with a whole host of problems resurfacing in a 43-13 loss Sunday to the Houston Texans. Despite the lopsided nature of the loss, many Ravens found the silver lining. They still enter the bye week with a 5-2 record, good enough for first place in the AFC North and second behind the Texans in the AFC. Here is a look at the first seven games and how the Ravens got to this point: -- Jeff Zrebiec