The Ravens headed to Cincinnati on a short week for a division matchup that was almost a primetime comeback.
Coming off a 47-3 blowout over the Buffalo Bills, Joe Flacco and the Ravens struggled against an unstoppable Andy Dalton and A.J. Green.
Here are the key observations from Thursday's 34-23 loss.
Defense suffered without C.J. Mosley
Linebacker C.J. Mosley was carted to the locker room in the first with what was eventually diagnosed as a bone bruise, and as soon as Mosley departed, the Bengals went on a run, scoring four touchdowns in four drives.
How long the Ravens will be without their signal caller is unknown.
The typical recovery time for a bone bruise is 3-6 weeks depending on the severity and location of the injury. What we do know, however, is the Ravens' defense needs to fully prepare to step up in his place. Linebacker Patrick Onwuasor took over the reigns of play caller and then safety Eric Weddle during the second half.
However, several players admitted postgame that there was a lot of confusion on the field after Mosley's departure.
We were kind of just scrambling around when [Mosley] went out,” cornerback Marlon Humphrey said. “Some guys didn’t even know he was out. It’s kind of in-between. I really couldn’t tell you.
The absence of a veteran of Mosley's caliber will certainly have its effects, but there are more than enough guys to take over that role. Eric Weddle, Terrell Suggs, Tony Jefferson and even Tavon Young, who had two sacks against the Bills last Sunday, have more than enough experience to handle the responsibility. Luckily, the Ravens have ten days to prepare for the Bronco's defense.
Flacco's first two performances vastly different
During Week 1 against the Bills, Joe Flacco came out in horrible weather conditions and put up a 121.7 rating en route to hitting all three wideouts for touchdowns. Fast forward to Week 2 and a different Flacco appeared.
On the verge of a comeback and down by a touchdown, Flacco's pass was knocked out from behind for a turnover and was the icing on top of an up and down night for the QB. He finished the night 32-55 for 376 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Several sloppy throws were mixed in with 21-yard, right on the money shot to John Brown for a touchdown late in the fourth.
While Flacco and the offense rallied from a 21-point deficit, the magic they needed to get the job done wasn't there, something they've experienced in the past. The QB has lost more games there than anywhere else in the NFL and has 13 more interceptions against Cincinnati than any other team, per ESPN's Jamison Hensley.
An extended period of rest for an offensive line that didn't give Flacco any additional help in his quest for a comeback will be beneficial ahead of Week 3. It will also be interesting to see which version of Flacco takes the field.
The Ravens host the Broncos Sunday, Sept. 22 before hitting the road for three games. A win at home will be vital for their long-term success.
Left tackle Ronnie Stanley exited the game in the fourth quarter, and postgame would not disclose what the injury was. He did say, however, that he would be "fine." If that is true, the attention will remain focused on Mosley and how much time they expect the three-time Pro Bowler to miss.
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