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Bengals overcome Ravens with late TD

Sep 7, 2014 - 11:51 PM Baltimore, MD ( - Andy Dalton's 77-yard TD strike to A.J. Green inside of five minutes left in regulation plus a conversion pass completion to Mohamed Sanu, lifted the Cincinnati Bengals to a 23-16 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday in the 2014 season opener for both clubs.

"I like the juke, said Green of the game-deciding reception. "I took an inside release, he dove and got a hand on it and I got it. I said before the series that I had to go and make a play."

Dalton ended up 25-of-38 for 301 yards for the Bengals (1-0), who received five first-half field goals from Mike Nugent. Green tallied 131 yards on six receptions, while Giovani Bernard was held to 48 yards on 14 carries.

Joe Flacco finished 35-of-62 for 345 yards, one score and an interception for the Ravens (0-1). In the absence of suspended running back Ray Rice, Justin Forsett subbed and tallied 70 yards and a touchdown on 11 rushes.

Steve Smith led all receivers by compiling 118 yards and Baltimore's other TD on seven grabs.

Baltimore sprang to life and took its first lead of the game with 5:46 remaining, as Flacco found Smith alone on the left sideline, and the veteran wideout did the rest -- including fending off a tackler -- to complete an 80- yard score. However, Forsett tripped and fell shy of the goal line on the two- point conversion try and it was only a 16-15 edge.

Dalton countered by going deep just two plays later and found Green on the right sideline for the go-ahead score. Sanu then tiptoed inside the right pylon after hauling in the conversion pass and Cincinnati was up 23-16 with 4:58 on the clock.

"I blame it on me," Ravens cornerback Chykie Brown said. "I was looking for the deep ball, but I have to play better technique. I have to stay on top of the man and that didn't happen."

Flacco eventually moved his club from their own 12, but facing a 4th-and-9 from the Bengals' 21, Flacco was dropped for a big loss. Dalton took a knee on two plays to run out the remaining time.

Cincinnati's opening drive of the 2014 campaign yielded a 49-yard field goal from Nugent.

A 45-yard punt return by Adam Jones set the Bengals up on the Ravens' 29-yard line late in the opening quarter, and Nugent put his club up 6-0 after booting a 22 yarder to cap a six-play drive.

Nugent was good from 28 yards away for a 9-0 Cincinnati edge early in the second period, then Justin Tucker failed to convert a 55-yard attempt on Baltimore's ensuing possession. Nugent connected on a 46-yarder after the Bengals failed to move the ball significantly thereafter.

Bernard Pierce fumbled on the Ravens' next play from scrimmage and the visitors took over on the hosts' 23. Once again the Bengals offense couldn't put the ball into the end zone, and Nugent was good from 38 yards away for a 15-0 score.

Early in the third quarter, Nugent had a 45-yard try blocked, and Anthony Levine returned the ball to the Cincinnati 40. However, two plays later, Flacco was picked off by Emmanuel Lamur. The Bengals reached the Ravens' 44 before punting, then the hosts finally hit their stride.

Forsett went off tackle to the right and scored on a 13-yard rush to cap an 82-yard drive on the 10th play for a 15-7 contest with 2:20 remaining.

Tucker followed by capping a 14-play march by making a 38-yard attempt with 10:28 left in the contest which pulled the Ravens within five.

Game Notes

Cincinnati has beaten Baltimore in three of the last four regular-season meetings after the Ravens won four straight ... In a halftime ceremony, long- time linebacker Ray Lewis was honored for his years of service with the franchise. A statue is dedicated in his honor outside M&T Bank Stadium ... Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict left the game in the second quarter and did not return, later diagnosed with a concussion ... Cincinnati tight end Tyler Eifert departed late in the first quarter and did not return due to an apparent right elbow injury.