Last week, the Ravens suffered their first loss of the season, 27-21, to the Patriots. After an early Pats field goal, Ravens QB Joe Flacco found WR Derrick Mason in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown. Then, in the second quarter, the Pats took a lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by QB Tom Brady. The Patriots were up 17-7 at halftime after a 12-yard touchdown by RB Sammy Morris. In the third quarter, the Ravens made it a one possession game when LB Terrell Suggs forced a fumble that was recovered in the end zone by DE Dwan Edwards. But the Pats got back on the board on a 14-yard pass from Brady to WR Randy Moss. Then Ravens made it 24-21 on a 13-yard pass from Flacco to RB Willis McGahee. After a Pats field goal, the Ravens had a chance to win the game on their final drive. On a 4th and 2 at the Patriots 15, Flacco threw to WR Mark Clayton, who dropped the ball, ending the game.
Player of the Game: Patriots QB Tom Brady-258 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 5 rushes, 11 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown
Other Notes: Ravens LB Branden Ayanbadejo is out for the season after suffering an injury in this game.
Next Sunday, the Ravens welcome the 3-1 Cincinnati Bengals to Baltimore. These two teams are tied for the AFC North lead, which means the winner takes sole possession of first place in the division. After losing the first game of the year, the Bengals have won three consecutive games. Last season, the Ravens won both games against the Bengals. Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis was the Ravens defensive coordinator for their Super Bowl win. The Bengals were struck with tragedy this week, when the wife of their defensive coordinator, Mike Zimmer, unexpectedly died. Zimmer is still expected to coach on Sunday. Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco said earlier this week that he has already planned a touchdown celebration for Sunday. The dance is from the Will Ferrell movie, "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby". Bengals QB Carson Palmer has been extremely clutch this year for Cincinnati. But Palmer has a huge test this week, against one of the top defenses in the league, the Ravens. Palmer will have to take advantage of the Ravens struggling pass defense. The Ravens defense is the best in the NFL in stopping the run, but have a tough test this week against Cedric Benson, who is the NFL's fourth leading rusher. In a very tough game, I have the Ravens winning, 31-20.
Suggestion: The Ravens secondary really needs to step it up. Last week, Patriots WR Randy Moss was basically wide open in the end zone for his touchdown, as the CB defending him, Dominique Foxworth, was a few yards off of him. That can't happen this week against Bengals star WR, Chad Ochocinco.
Key Matchups for Ravens vs. Bengals
Ravens WR Derrick Mason vs. Bengals CB Leon Hall Edge: Mason
Ravens C Matt Birk vs. Bengals DT Robert Geathers Edge: Birk
Ravens CB Dominique Foxworth vs. Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco Edge: Ochocinco
T Jared Gaither-Neck-QST
CB Chris Carr-Groin-PRB
LB Tavares Gooden-Shoulder-PRB
LB Jarret Johnston-Shoulder-PRB
WR Derrick Mason-Neck-PRB
DT Haloti Ngata-Back-PRB
S Ed Reed-Knee-PRB
WR Demetrius Williams-Illness-PRB
LB Rashad Jeanty-Finger-OUT
OT Andre Smith-Foot-OUT
S Kyries Hebert-Hip-QST
DT Tank Johnson-Foot-QST
S Chinedum Nduukwe-Hamstring-QST
RB Cedric Benson-Hip-PRB
CB David Jones-Foot-PRB
LB Rey Maualuga-Knee-PRB
DT Domata Peko-Chest-PRB
S Roy Williams-Forearm-PRB
That's it for this week's version of my Ravens Report. See you next week!