Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
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Joe Mixon returns vs. Ravens

Joe Mixon returns vs. Ravens

The Bengals managed to defeat the Ravens 34-23, improving their record to 2-0 and giving them a lead in the AFC North that they'll now hang on to until at least Week 3.

Sure, it's only two games but the impressive performance against division rival Baltimore, in which the Bengals bolted to an early 21-point lead, was a start contrast to a year ago. They've shown flashes of brilliance, but they haven't put it together in any sort of consistent fashion. New acquisitions John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead all caught touchdown passes from Joe Flacco, and rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson got his first taste of National Football League action with the game in-hand late. He entered the year with 474 tackles in four seasons.

It's not a complete surprise that the Bengals might take some time to find their identity.

That made it three catches, three scores for Green and a shocking 21-0 lead for the Bengals.

"They didn't play ideal", Harbaugh said. Now linebacker C.J. Mosley, the quarterback of the Ravens' defense, had left the game with a bone bruise. A year ago nearly to the day, they lost to the Houston Texans, falling to 0-2, and fired offensive coordinator Ken Zampese the following day after scoring nine points in two games.

It was capped by Andy Dalton's 49-yard touchdown pass with less than a minute left.

Bengals kicker Randy Bullock added one more field goal for the final margin.

The Ravens switched up their coverage on Green but couldn't stop him in the opening half.

"That was a great way to start tonight, to come out hot like we did to set the tone", Dalton said. "I just had to check back in mentally and physically tough it out". But the real fireworks took place before the game, at a nursing home in Cincinnati.

Nearly as soon as the Ravens got the ball back, Flacco gave it back. "We did a good job throughout".

It was the same days earlier against the Colts, when it appeared they were about to give up a go-ahead score late in the game. They already can count Fejedelem's and Williams' plays as signs of a team that possesses a killer instinct. Andy Dalton has weapons in A.J. Green and speedster John Ross, as well as Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard out of the backfield. Young linebackers Hardy Nickerson and Jordan Evans appeared to mostly fare fine with starting middle linebacker Preston Brown out because of an injury and Vontaze Burfict sitting out due to a suspension. In the meantime, the Bengals haven't made the postseason since 2015.

"Yep, we're 2-0!" cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick said. "We've got a long way to go".

If anyone thought Green wasn't among the NFL's elite receivers anymore, he reminded them on Thursday night.

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