BALTIMORE (AP) -- Coming off a game in which their offense
sputtered and the defense was manhandled, the Baltimore Ravens were
looking for a turnaround Sunday.
Rookie Jamal Lewis ran for 116 yards and a touchdown to back a
dominating effort by the Baltimore defense, and the Ravens forced
four turnovers in a 37-0 rout of the hapless Bengals.
Tony Banks threw two touchdown passes for the Ravens (3-1), who
were intent on bouncing back from a 19-6 defeat in Miami last week.
"We needed this for our confidence. We needed this, period,"
said defensive tackle Rob Burnett, who knocked Cincinnati
quarterback Akili Smith out of the game in the second quarter.
"It's very gratifying to be able to throw a goose egg, especially
after what happened last week."
The Bengals (0-3) proved to be the perfect cure. Cincinnati,
which had only 4 yards rushing, has been outscored 74-7 this year.
Cincinnati coach Bruce Coslet, obviously frustrated over the
defeat, summed up his feelings in 10 seconds.
|Baltimore's Tony Banks threw a pair of touchdown passes in Sunday's victory.|
"I'm going to be short," he said. "You saw the game.
Congratulations to the Ravens. They played a heck of a football
game and we didn't play very well at all. I'll just leave it at
The Baltimore defense figured to have its way against the
punchless Bengals. After Smith left with a concussion, it became a
"We were concerned about Aliki because his athleticism. We were
concerned about him getting out of the pocket and making big
plays," Burnett said.
Smith's replacement, the 240-pound Scott Mitchell, never got it
going in his first NFL appearance in more than a year. Mitchell,
who played in two games with Baltimore last year, went 14-for-23
for 97 yards.
"I can't say that I felt rusty, but I wasn't into the flow of
the game," he said. "We didn't have any rhythm or continuity to
what we were doing."
It was the Ravens' second shutout this season and their most
lopsided win since starting play in Baltimore in 1996. Dating back
to last season, Cincinnati has lost five straight, three by
Smith, the Bengals' second-year quarterback, left after being
sacked by Burnett, who entered the backfield untouched before
driving Smith into the ground. Smith walked off the field on his
own, but did not return.
"I just remember getting hit, and laying on the ground, seeing
stars, stomach hurt, throat hurt," Smith said. "It was a pretty
good shot, but I feel a lot better now."
The Bengals managed only 31 yards in the first half and had as
many turnovers as first downs (three). The Ravens, meanwhile,
scored on four of their five possessions to take a 24-0 lead.
"We got kind of cold over there, the offense had the ball so
long," Baltimore defensive end Michael McCrary said. "It's a good
feeling. The whole defense unit is merging together and the offense
is clicking. You can't beat that."
The weather forecast called for rain, but the game began under
sunny skies, much to the delight of a Baltimore team that failed to
score a touchdown last week in the muck at Miami.
The Ravens took the opening kickoff and moved 50 yards,
converting two third downs along the way, before Matt Stover kicked
a 30-yard field goal.
The Bengals quickly punted, and Baltimore went up 10-0 with a
62-yard drive capped by Banks' 8-yard touchdown pass to first-round
pick Travis Taylor.
Cincinnati's Tremain Mack fumbled the ensuing kickoff and
Baltimore recovered at the 27. Banks completed a 16-yarder to
Priest Holmes before Lewis, the Ravens' other first-round pick, ran
in from the 11 on the opening play of the second quarter.
Smith left soon after that, leaving the immobile Mitchell the
chore of trying to move against a defense ranked second in the NFL
against the run.
It was a futile task. Mitchell's arm wasn't nearly enough to
loosen up the Baltimore front.
After Rod Woodson picked off a pass from Mitchell, Banks capped
a 44-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Shannon Sharpe.
Stover kicked a third-quarter field goal and Obafemi Ayanbadejo
scored from the 1 with 4:51 left to make it 34-0.
Banks went 20-for-36 for 196 yards before leaving midway through
the fourth quarter.
||TOM DONAHOE'S BREAKDOWN
Cincinnati was absolutely inept on offense in a game the Ravens obviously dominated.
On the game, the Bengals registered less than 100 yards total offense -- and had an unbelievable four yards rushing on 16 carries.
Baltimore started rookie RB Jamal Lewis and he was impressive in a 100-yard performance. Tony Banks was likewise able to pick apart the Bengals' secondary.
There was constant pressure on Cincy's offense. In particular, Ravens DE Rob Burnett played an outstanding game for Baltimore. He had three sacks and knocked Bengals QB Akili Smith out of the game.
Cincy's offensive problems are evident in this stat: they now have scored one touchdown in three games. They certainly have better personnel on offense to be that inept.
The Ravens recorded their second shutout of the season.
Baltimore set franchise records with fewest net yards
allowed (94), fewest rushing yards allowed and fewest passing
yardage (90). ... Woodson's interception was his 10th versus the
Bengals, the most against any NFL team. ... The Bengals have lost
five straight to the Ravens, including the last four in Baltimore.
... Baltimore's Qadry Ismail returned after missing one game with a
knee injury. ... Cincinnati has yielded 16 sacks in three games.
... Baltimore OT Harry Swayne left in the second quarter with an
ankle injury and did not return.