Bengals send Ravens home early

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Updated: December 29, 2013

Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) – A new Super Bowl champion will be crowned
this season.

Andy Dalton ran for the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter, and
the Cincinnati Bengals closed out the regular season by defeating the
Baltimore Ravens 34-17 at Paul Brown Stadium.

The loss, coupled with Pittsburgh’s win over Cleveland, eliminated the
defending champion Ravens from playoff contention.

Dalton had an uneven performance with two touchdown passes and four
interceptions that Baltimore could only turn into a trio of Justin Tucker
field goals.

Dalton was 21-of-36 for 281 yards as the Bengals (11-5) posted an unblemished
8-0 record at home for the second time in franchise history. The AFC North
champs will secure the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye if New England loses
to Buffalo on Sunday.

Cincinnati scored the final 17 points after squandering a 17-6 halftime lead.

Baltimore’s Joe Flacco threw three interceptions, the last of which Dre
Kirkpatrick returned 21 yards for the game-sealing touchdown with 4:07
remaining.

Flacco was 30-of-50 for 192 yards and one touchdown for Baltimore (8-8), which
will miss the playoffs for the first time in six years under head coach John
Harbaugh.

The Ravens’ offense was stagnant for much of the first half. Baltimore failed
to get a first down on four of its first five drives and Flacco absorbed a
handful of hard hits.

Not much was different at the start of the third quarter. The Ravens opened
the second half with another three-and-out, but capitalized on a third Dalton
giveaway and a shanked punt to erase an 11-point deficit.

Tucker drilled a 34-yard field goal, then Baltimore got the ball back at the
Cincinnati 40 after Shawn Powell’s 10-yard punt. Flacco hit Marlon Brown in
the back of the end zone for an 8-yard TD, and the game was tied following a
successful two-point conversion. Ray Rice scored on a stretch run to the left
pylon.

Cincinnati responded by producing 10 points in a 70-second span.

The Bengals were driving to begin the fourth quarter and Dalton capped the 12-
play, 90-yard march with a short run to make it 24-17.

Chris Crocker then picked off Flacco on the first play of the ensuing drive
and the turnover led to a 38-yard Mike Nugent field goal with 12:19 remaining.

The Ravens couldn’t have asked for a better start. They picked Dalton off on
the Bengals’ first two possessions, but the Cincinnati quarterback rebounded
from the early miscues to hit a wide-open A.J. Green for a 53-yard touchdown
with 17 seconds left in the opening quarter.

On the play, Green got a free release at the line, sprinted through the
secondary and caught the pass in stride for a 7-6 Cincinnati lead.

Nugent kicked a 39-yard field goal and Dalton made it 17-6 with a 16-yard TD
strike to Marvin Jones with 1:51 to go before halftime. Jones made a juggling
catch while falling to the ground in the end zone.

Game Notes

Dalton set a pair of single-season franchise records with 4,296 passing
yards and 33 touchdown passes … The 1988 Bengals also won all eight games as
the host … Flacco finished with a career-high 3,912 passing yards this
season … Tucker broke Matt Stover’s single-season team record for field
goals made with 38. Stover had 35 in 2000 … The Bengals were without tight
ends Jermaine Gresham (hamstring) and Tyler Eifert (neck).