Suggs and Rice come up big in Ravens win at Cincy

January 01, 2012 | Drew Forrester

Suggs and Rice come up big in Ravens win at Cincy

Great players make great plays.  And they make them when it matters most.

Enter Terrell Suggs and Ray Rice, both of whom came up with game-changing plays on Sunday in Cincinnati, sparking the Ravens to a 24-16 win over the Bengals that handed Baltimore the AFC North crown with a 12-4 regular season record.

Suggs, quiet for most of the day, came up with the first huge play in the 4th quarter when he slapped the ball out of Jermaine Gresham’s hands with 7:15 left in the game when the Bengals were trailing 17-13 and mounting a possible game-winning drive.

Three plays later, Ray Rice scampered 51 yards into the end zone to make it 24-13 in favor of the Ravens and that effectively sealed the deal for Baltimore, paving the way for a first-round playoff bye and a home game at M&T Bank Stadium sometime on the weekend of January 14-15.

When the game was on the line, the Ravens two best players of 2011 came through.  Suggs and Rice.  Rice and Suggs.  Either way you rank them in ’11, those two figured out a way to be the difference on Sunday in Cincinnati.

They got some major help from the Bengals along the way, as Marvin Lewis did his best to stymie Cincinnati’s progress in the first half with some soft decisions on a pair of 4th and inches situations.  A missed field goal from Mike Nugent – which, honestly, might have actually been good – was also helpful, as the Bengals looked hopeless in the opening 30 minutes.

But as they’ve done time and time again this season, the Ravens couldn’t put an opponent away, even though it looked like they wanted to be put away.

The Ravens couldn’t generate much offense in the 3rd quarter and the defense started to wear down, with a glaring missed tackle from Ed Reed highlighting a Cincinnati comeback that saw the Bengals climb to within 4 points at 17-13 before Suggs’s heroics led to the Rice TD run with 5:41 to play in the game.

There’s no telling which Ravens team will show up in two weeks when the playoffs begin.  It’s been that kind of season in Baltimore, where despite seeing the team win 12 of 16 games, an air of uncertainty remains about the club’s ability to put together 60 minutes of good football.

It happened again on Sunday in Cincinnati, where the Ravens dominated the first half, then slowly lost their way until the Bengals clawed back to make it 17-13 in the 4th quarter.

Two weeks from now, a 35 or 45 minute effort against either the Steelers, Broncos or Texans might spell doom for the Ravens.

But on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, a 40 minute effort was good enough for the Ravens, who used two big plays from their two best players to pull out a win and earn a home playoff game for the first time since January 13, 2007.

 

 

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7 Comments For This Post

  1. unitastoberry Says:

    Very Cardiac win. But we get home field. Nice to see Pitta get in the game the guy is a beast. One day we are going to lose one of those tight ends to free agency both are good. As usual the play calling on offense was suspect but watching other games today all the teams seem to throw 4 yard passes on 3rd and 9. The defense was ok. The refs gave us some breaks and hosed the Bengals. Its almost to the point where they need to put flags on the QB and WRs. Cundiff got his mojo back. And Ray Lewis god bless him needs to think about calling it quits he continues to get burned on pass plays and runs away from him. Go Denver.

  2. Franchise Says:

    Drew,

    You picked the Bengals to win this game with your prediction earlier in the week on your blog.

    The fact is that when the Ravens really needed to win a game this year they did.

    12-4; AFC North Division Champs in arguably the best Division in football with three teams in the AFC playoffs; #2 Seed in the AFC with a bye and home division round game.

    Thank You Ravens!

    Now for my request in the AFC Wild Card Round:

    1.) Texans defeat Bengals and #3 seed at M&T versus the #2 Ravens.
    2.) Steelers defeat Broncos and #5 seed at #1 seed Patriots in Foxboro.

    Divisional Round request:

    3.) Ravens defeat Texans
    4.) Steelers defeat Patriots

    Ravens host the AFC Championship Game versus the Steelers.

    I wouldn’t want it any other way—-Defeat the Steelers three times in one year to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl at the IRSAY Oil Drum Dome the first Sunday in February.

    Fire-up the Mayflower Vans!!!!

    Regards,

    Raymond Berry—Lombardi Trophy Presenter

  3. Rick Moore Says:

    Everyone says it is likely we will face #5 seed Pittsburgh in two weeks, assuming they beat Tebow next week. But my understanding is we would face the higher remaining seed, which would be #3 Houston if they beat Cincy. If I’m right, Go Texans, because it will be very tough to beat the Steelers three times in one season. The win today was HUGE, regardless of how we got it. Playing the Steelers at home at least gives us a decent chance to beat them for a third time.

  4. Rick Moore Says:

    To Franchise – I agree with you 100%. For Houston, Foster and Andre Johnson should be back pretty much full strength against the Bengals. With them back in front of a home crowd, I give Houston a very good shot of beating the Bengals.

  5. Zavetz Says:

    Ball So Hard U was held in check for 55 minutes then Bam the Dean shows up and changes the whole flow of the second half….

    Thanks sizzle we love ya man……

    Drew, Friday Mudd is the best….

    Keep the volleyball pics coming, I am glad someone (you) promotes all the sports. WINK WINK!!!!

  6. unitastoberry Says:

    Franchise….I dont want the Stillers 3 times in any year.

  7. The "Armchair QB" Says:

    Not afraid of the Steelers, who were not exactly dominating anybody BEFORE the injury to Roethlisburger, which has hindered his performance and will continue to do so. They have become old and slow and, when you couple those facts with the number of serious injuries to key personnel, frankly, they pose less of a threat than a number of other playoff teams…….

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