Joe Flacco deftly directed Baltimore new, no-huddle offense, and the Ravens’ defense administered an old-fashioned whipping on the Cincinnati Bengals.
Flacco threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns, Ed Reed took an interception 34 yards for a score, and the Ravens rolled to a 44-13 victory Monday night to extend their home winning streak to 11 games.
Using the no-huddle offense almost flawlessly, the Ravens amassed 430 yards and got two short touchdown runs from Ray Rice. After letting an early 14-point lead dwindle to 17-13, the Ravens pulled away by scoring 24 straight points in just over six minutes.
Flacco watched the final eight minutes of the blowout on the sideline after going 21 for 29 in Baltimore’s ninth consecutive victory in the AFC North. The Ravens were the only team in the division to win the opener.
And while the offense certainly was impressive, Baltimore’s defense also excelled in its first game under coordinator Dean Pees. Playing without injured NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs — who had 14 sacks last year — the Ravens dropped Andy Dalton four times.
Not only that, but Baltimore turned two turnovers into touchdowns over a two-minute span. After Reed’s touchdown return, 37-year-old linebacker Ray Lewis forced a fumble that was recovered by Lardarius Webb, setting up a 1-yard touchdown run by Rice to make it 41-13 with 13:41 remaining.
Reed’s jaunt with a pass tipped by Cincinnati receiver Brandon Tate put the diminutive safety in the NFL record book. Reed has 1,497 yards in interception returns, eclipsing the previous record of 1,483 yards by Rod Woodson. It was Reed’s seventh career score on a pickoff return.
Dalton went 22 for 37 for 221 yards, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for 91 yards and a score in his Cincinnati debut. But the Bengals, who failed to beat a team that reached the postseason last season, once again came up short against a high-caliber opponent.