All week long last week I read article after article, heard expert after expert talk about how the Baltimore Ravens had improved and were going to beat the Cincinnati Bengals in their own house.Even our own Boomer Esiason picked the Ravens.How quickly everyone had forgotten the beating the Bengals laid on the Bears two weeks prior in their last game.The Bengals played a nearly perfect game against the Bears and they started out much the same way against the Ravens.The Bengals took the opening kick off and marched 73 yards on 12 plays in 6 minutes for the games first score.The Bengals defense forced Baltimore to punt two minutes later and the Bengals marched right down the field again to score their second touchdown.By halftime the Bengals were up 17-0 and the Ravens had barely even seen the ball.
The Bengals played a bit conservative in the second half, much to my dismay but the defense was shutting the Ravens offense down very effectively.The Ravens did, however, manage to put together an impressive 8 play 65 yard touchdown drive at the start of the fourth quarter.The Bengals responded by moving the ball quickly down the field when Chad Ochocinco hauled in a deep pass and had only Ed Reed to beat at the 35 yard line.Reed pulled him down and stripped the ball from him for the second time this season.Later that night Chad sent out this Twitter message “Beautiful game today, if Ed Reed steal one of my footballs again I'm gonna call the police, damn thief, they kissed da baby still<--Pow!!”The Ravens looked to put together another quick scoring drive but they were stopped at the 20 yard line.As Ravens kicker Steven Hauschka lined up for the 38 yard kick attempt to make it a seven point game the crowd when wild.His kick went wide left and the Bengals held on for a 17-7 victory.
In their previous meeting Cedric Benson became the first running back to rush for more than 100 yards against the Ravens in 40 games.In the rematch he became only the second back to rush for more than 100 yards against the Ravens twice (120, 117) in one season.The other back to do so is Jerome Bettis.
The Bengals did suffer a big lose in the game, however.Wide receiver Chris Henry suffered a broken forearm early in the second quarter and will miss the rest of the season.Henry did not have great numbers this year but his presence on the field was strong enough to give Chad Ochocinco and Laveranues Coles room to run through the secondary.It is uncertain who will step up to take his spot on the roster.Last years number two draft pick Jerome Simpson has yet to see playing time this year. But the Bengals have a large receiver in Maurice Purify on the practice squad.Purify spent a good deal of time working with Palmer over the offseason and Palmer speaks very highly of his talent.
Being that the Bengals are now 4-0 in the AFC North and have just beaten a team that no one gave them a chance to you’d think they would get a little more love from the “experts”.Not so fast.This week they head northeast to play in Pittsburgh.The Bengals are tied for first place in the division with the Steelers and surely every Bengals fan and Steelers fan remembers the Bengals 4th quarter comeback in week 3 against the Steelers.The Steelers defense dominated the first three quarters of the game but were unable to stop Carson Palmer on the Bengals last two drives of the game.While Palmer and the Bengals offense has improved tremendously since the last meeting the Steelers can say that their defense has improved as well with Troy Polamalu coming off the injury list.Palmer is very familiar with Polamalu as they were roommates at USC.
Early in the week the Steelers are 7.5 point favorites at home.After dropping two straight games early in the season the Steelers have ripped of five straight wins including a 28-10 victory in Denver this past Monday night.A win in Pittsburgh for the Bengals would be huge in the division standings as they would be 5-0 and Pittsburgh would be 1-2 with two games left against Baltimore and one in Cleveland.While the rest of the writers and so called experts will likely go with Pittsburgh this week I am going to go with the Bengals in a tough one winning 24-17 in front of a shocked Steeler crowd.
So, with that, let the trash talk begin…again…I’m not sure it ever stopped….