AFC: Ravens force five Dalton turnovers, shut out Bengals, 20-0


AFC: Ravens force five Dalton turnovers, shut out Bengals, 20-0

CINCINNATI -- With Joe Flacco easing back in from a back injury, the Ravens went out and got a victory old-style.

Baltimore's rebuilt defense picked off Andy Dalton four times and forced him to fumble Sunday, and the Ravens pulled away to a 20-0 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals that reminded them of the days when they'd win games with a defense that got into quarterbacks' heads.

"I like to see touchdowns, but if we've got to play lights-out defense, that's what we're going to do," said linebacker Terrell Suggs , who had a pair of sacks and tipped a pass.

The Ravens pressured Dalton into matching his career high for interceptions , three of them in the first half. Two were tipped, and the other was a throw he forced into double coverage in the end zone that C.J. Mosley picked off.

The Ravens took control with a pair of touchdowns 24 seconds apart late in the half. Flacco saw the Bengals ready to blitz with no defender in the middle of the field, and he hit Jeremy Maclin in stride on a slant for a 48-yard catch-and-run.

Two plays later, Suggs batted Dalton's pass high in the air and Lardarius Webb grabbed it. Terrance West's 2-yard touchdown run made it 17-0.

The Ravens didn't need anything else, given how the defense was dominating.

"Any time you get a shutout, it's huge," said safety Tony Jefferson, one of the new additions. "To do it today in the opener? Man!"

The Ravens' overriding question was how Flacco would hold up after missing all of camp and the preseason with a bad back. The defense made sure he didn't have to do much. Flacco was 9 of 17 for 121 yards with an interception against a defense missing suspended linebacker Vontaze Burfict and cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones.

"It was one of our old-fashioned games," said Flacco , in his 10th season. "It reminded me of one of our games when I was a rookie."

The Bengals had breakdowns everywhere as they were shut out in a season opener for the first time since 1979. They'd never been blanked in a home opener. The Bengals managed only 221 total yards and had nine penalties.

"This was as disappointing as it can be," coach Marvin Lewis said.

Baltimore has tormented Dalton like few others. He's had nine three-interception games during his career, four of them against Baltimore. His only other four-interception game also was against the Ravens in the 2013.

"It wasn't confusing," Dalton said. "I just didn't play well."

After missing the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, Baltimore put its emphasis on upgrading the defense. It paid off right away, with newcomer Brandon Carr getting the first interception .

Dalton was under heavy pressure behind Cincinnati's inexperienced line and finished 16 of 31 for 170 yards and was sacked five times.


It was the Ravens' third season-opening shutout. They also blanked Pittsburgh in 2000 and Tampa Bay in 2006, both on the road. The Bengals hadn't been blanked in their season opener since 1979, when they lost at Denver 10-0. They hadn't been shut out at Paul Brown Stadium since 2001 by the Bears.


The Ravens essentially put it away with a 17-play, 81-yard drive in the third quarter that lasted 9 minutes, 38 seconds and ended in a field goal. The drive included 14 runs for 54 yards, two incompletions and three penalties on the Bengals: unnecessary roughness, pass interference and defensive holding.

The Ravens rushed for 157 yards overall, including 90 by West and 71 by Javorius Allen.

"This was a game that running the ball turned out to be a key," coach John Harbaugh said . "I thought we were really patient with it."


Ravens RB Danny Woodhead injured his left hamstring on the opening series and didn't return, another setback for a depleted offense. LB Za'Darius Smith hurt his left knee in the second quarter and was helped off the field.

Bengals RG guard Trey Hopkins hurt his left knee late in the first half and didn't return. DE Michael Johnson suffered a concussion on the final play of the first half and didn't return.


Ravens play at Cleveland. They've won three in a row against the Browns.

Bengals host Texans on Thursday night. Houston has won its last two and seven of eight against Cincinnati, including a pair of first-round playoff games.

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

What are the Patriots getting in Cordarrelle Patterson?

The Patriots have made a trade with the Raiders to acquire receiver and special teamer Cordarrelle Patterson, according to a source. The deal, first reported by Pardon My Take, is an interesting one because it lands Patterson with the team that passed on the opportunity to draft him back in 2013. 


Bill Belichick dealt the No. 29 overall pick to the Vikings that year in exchange for four selections, including a second-rounder and a third-rounder. The second-rounder became Jamie Collins, and the third became Logan Ryan. The Patriots also took Josh Boyce with a fourth they received in the trade, and the fourth pick (a seventh) was traded to Tampa Bay in exchange for LeGarrette Blount. The Vikings took Patterson. 

Patterson's career to this point has been a mixed bag. One of the top athletes in the 2013 draft, the Tennessee product never quite panned out as a go-to No. 1 receiver. He has not missed a game in five seasons, but he has never cracked 600 offensive snaps in a single season. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder has turned himself into more of a gadget receiver as well as one of the game's best special teamers. 

Here's what the Patriots are getting in Patterson . . . 

TOP-TIER SPECIAL TEAMER: Patterson has solidified himself as one of the NFL's best kick-returners. In five seasons, he's ranked as the top returner in terms of average yards per return three times. He's never been outside of the top 10 in the league in that category. Last year he was sixth in the NFL with a 28.3 yards per return average. Patterson has also become a highly-effective gunner on punt units, a role he thrived in once he embraced it, and he has kick coverage experience. Patterson has not been a punt-returner. He has just one punt return under his belt compared to 153 kick returns. Patterson has been named a First-Team All-Pro twice for his work in the kicking game. 

INCONSISTENT RECEIVER: Patterson has never been able to take his explosiveness and translate that into consistent production offensively. He's not thought of as a precise route-runner, and he has a reputation as a "body-catcher." Yet, because he's so dynamic with the ball in his hands, offenses in Oakland and Minnesota have found ways to get the ball in his hands. He'll align in the backfield, take reverses and catch screens just to try to get him the ball in space where he can let his natural abilities take over. If he gets a crease, he can create a chunk play in a blink. 

THE COST: Patterson is in the second year of a two-year deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason. He has a base salary of $3 million and a cap hit of $3.25 million. The Patriots will be sending a fifth-rounder to the Raiders and getting a sixth-rounder back. (As an aside . . . The Patriots have used one fifth-round pick in the last six drafts. It was spent on long-snapper Joe Cardona. Why are they constantly dealing fifths away? Inside the Pylon's Dave Archibald did an interesting piece on that topic about a year and a half ago. The gist is that a) there's a significant drop-off in your chances of finding a star in the fifth compared to the fourth, and b) the talent in the fifth round, by some metrics, hasn't proven to be all that different from the sixth or seventh rounds.) 

THE FIT: Patterson is a relatively low-risk acquisition because of his cap hit (which on the Patriots slots him in between Shea McClellin and Chris Hogan) and because of the draft capital required to nab him. Trading for a player like Patterson as opposed to signing another team's free agent has the added benefit of not impacting the compensatory-pick formula. Patterson also fills a few needs. His abilities as a kick-returner will be more than suitable with last year's primary kick returner for the Patriots, Dion Lewis, out of the mix. What Patterson can do as a gunner and in kick coverage will also be useful with Johnson Bademosi now elsewhere. There's also a chance Matthew Slater plays in a different city in 2017, in which case Patterson's contributions as a gunner and in kick coverage could be critical. With Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman and Hogan all established in the Patriots offense, Patterson won't be expected to take on a heavy role in the Patriots offense. However, if he can pick up a new system, perhaps he could take on a role as a No. 4 or 5 wideout who benefits from plays designed to get him touches in space. Malcolm Mitchell, Phillip Dorsett and Kenny Britt -- now alongside Patterson -- will all be competing for time in New England's offense. Former Patriots coaching assistant Mike Lombardi seems to believe it's unlikely Patterson contributes offensively


Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

Patriots acquire WR Cordarrelle Patterson in trade with Raiders

The Patriots have acquired wide receiver and kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson in a trade with the Raiders, NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry confirms.

Pardon My Take, a podcast by Barstool Sports, first reported the news.

Ian Rapaport of NFL Network reports the Patriots sent a fifth-round pick to Oakland and received a Raiders' sixth-rounder along with Patterson.

More to come...