Final

Ravens 17

(8-8, 2-6 away)

Bengals 34

(11-5, 8-0 home)

Coverage: CBS

1:00 PM ET, December 29, 2013

Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH 

1 2 3 4 T
BAL 6 0 11 017
CIN 7 10 0 1734

Top Performers

Passing: A. Dalton (CIN) - 281 YDS, 2 TD, 4 INT

Rushing: B. Green-Ellis (CIN) - 11 CAR, 66 YDS

Receiving: A. Hawkins (CIN) - 3 REC, 74 YDS

Andy Dalton, Bengals eliminate rival Ravens from playoffs

Associated Press
NFL Nation Recap: Bengals Top Ravens
ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley and Bengals reporter Coley Harvey deliver their postgame report from Paul Brown Stadium.Tags: NFL, NFL Nation, recap, Week 17, Bengals, Ravens, Jamison Hensley, Coley Harvey
VIDEO PLAYLIST video

CINCINNATI -- Even when Andy Dalton is mixing interceptions and touchdowns, the Bengals somehow find a way to win at home. And that's the best thing the AFC North champions take with them into the postseason.

Their next game will be at Paul Brown Stadium, where the Bengals are still perfect.

Dalton threw for two touchdowns, ran for another and set a pair of Bengals passing records on Sunday, leading Cincinnati to a 34-17 victory that eliminated the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.

The Bengals (11-5) are 8-0 at home and get to host a playoff game.

"We're playing with a lot of confidence right now," said Dalton, who was 21-of-36 for 281 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions. "The last couple of years we played on the road. For us to have a home game here, it'll be a great environment.

"We're ready for the playoffs to start."

The Ravens (8-8) lost their last two games, denying them a chance to make the playoffs for a sixth straight season. They couldn't avoid the Super Bowl slump that's so common.

The Ravens became the 15th Super Bowl champ that failed to reach the playoffs the following season, and the sixth in the last 12 years. Their running game fell apart, the offense had to settle for field goals and the defense missed Ray Lewis' inspiration in the big moments.

"That's it," coach John Harbaugh said. "That ends it. That stings."

In Cincinnati, there's only one thing in mind: win a playoff game for the first time since the 1990 season. The Bengals lost opening-round games in Houston each of the last two seasons, leaving them tied for the seventh-longest stretch of playoff futility in NFL history.

This time, they'll be playing at home, where they've scored 49, 41, 42, 42 and 34 points in their last five games. Their playoff seeding depended upon a later game between New England and Buffalo.

"If we have to play next week or we have to play in two weeks, this team is going to carry this swagger and attitude into the playoffs," offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth said. "If we continue to put up 30-plus points a game and continue playing defense the way we are, we'll have a chance to make a lot of noise."

Most of the focus will be on Dalton, who had two horrid games in the playoffs. He put together one of the best seasons by a Bengals quarterback, breaking Carson Palmer's club records for touchdown passes and yards passing on Sunday.

Dalton threw interceptions on Cincinnati's first two possessions, then regrouped. He threw a 53-yard pass to A.J. Green, who got behind a defense that went for a fake handoff. Marvin Jones made a one-hand, diving catch in the end zone for a 16-yard score just before halftime.

Dalton's 33rd TD pass surpassed Palmer's club record from 2005. He finished with 281 yards, breaking Palmer's club record for yards passing in a season with 4,296.

After the Ravens tied it 17-all in the third quarter, Dalton led a 90-yard drive that ended with his 1-yard touchdown run.

"He just keeps being Andy," coach Marvin Lewis said. "He just keeps playing."

All too often this season, the Ravens settled for field goals when they got close to the goal line. They did it again on Sunday, managing only three field goals off Dalton's first three three interceptions. Justin Tucker was good from 38, 22 and 34 yards, giving him a club record of 38 field goals.

The Ravens took advantage of Shawn Powell's 10-yard shanked punt and evened it 17-all in the third quarter. Joe Flacco threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Marlon Brown, and Ray Rice ran for the 2-point conversion.

Dalton responded by leading the 90-yard touchdown drive culminating in his run after a faked handoff. Dre Kirkpatrick had two interceptions in the fourth quarter that sealed it, including a 21-yard return for a touchdown.

Flacco, playing his second game on a sprained left knee, was 30-of-50 for 192 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.

Game notes


Flacco threw for a career-high 3,912 yards this season. ... Brown's TD catch tied Torrey Smith's club record of 7 TDs by a rookie. ... Rice set a club record for total yards from scrimmage with 9,214 career. ... The Bengals played without TEs Jermaine Gresham (hamstring) and rookie Tyler Eifert (neck). ... The Bengals had to reconfigure their offensive line again when C Kyle Cook suffered a foot injury and tackles Anthony Collins and Whitworth hurt ankles. X-rays on Cook were negative. ... The Bengals had two receivers with double-digit TD catches for the first time in their history. Green had 11, Jones 10.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
BAL
CIN
1st Downs1721
Passing 1st downs
1212
Rushing 1st downs
27
1st downs from Penalties
32
3rd down efficiency
4-157-13
4th down efficiency
0-20-0
Total Plays6666
Total Yards222392
Yards per play3.45.9
Total Drives1414
Passing175281
Comp - Att
30-5021-36
Yards per pass
3.57.8
Interceptions thrown
34
Sacks - Yards Lost
2-170-0
Rushing47111
Rushing Attempts
1430
Yards per rush
3.43.7
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-42-3
Penalties6-5610-76
Turnovers34
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
34
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01
Possession26:0333:57

Passing Leaders

BALC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Flacco30/501923.8132-17
CINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Dalton21/362817.8240-0

Rushing Leaders

BALCARYDSAVGTDLG
Pierce5285.6014
Rice6152.505
CINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Green-E...11666.0012
Dalton6233.819

Receiving Leaders

BALRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Pitta8637.901111
Rice7355.0097
CINRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Hawkins37424.70385
Jones56112.21177

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERBALCIN
balFG13:48Justin Tucker 38 Yd 30
balFG02:26Justin Tucker 22 Yd 60
cinTD00:17A.J. Green 53 Yd Pass From Andy Dalton (Mike Nugent Kick) 67
SECOND QUARTERBALCIN
cinFG06:36Mike Nugent 39 Yd 610
cinTD01:51Marvin Jones 16 Yd Pass From Andy Dalton (Mike Nugent Kick) 617
THIRD QUARTERBALCIN
balFG09:30Justin Tucker 34 Yd 917
balTD05:13Marlon Brown 8 Yd Pass From Joe Flacco (Ray Rice Run For Two-Point Conversion) 1717
FOURTH QUARTERBALCIN
cinTD13:29Andy Dalton 1 Yd Run (Mike Nugent Kick) 1724
cinFG12:19Mike Nugent 38 Yd 1727
cinTD04:07Dre Kirkpatrick 21 Yd Interception Return (Mike Nugent Kick) 1734

Research Notes

Joe Flacco went 0-of-9 with an interception on passes 15-plus yards downfield Sunday, continuing a season-long trend of poor deep balls. Flacco had more touchdowns on such passes in the 2012 postseason (5) than he had this season (3). The nine attempts without a completion on passes 15-plus yards downfield were the most for Flacco in a game in his career.
  [+]
Joe Flacco finished the season with 22 INT this season, setting the Ravens franchise record.
  [+]
The Bengals used the zone-read option 10 times Sunday for 67 yards and a touchdown, with Andy Dalton accounting for 19 yards and a touchdown on three of those rushes. The Bengals had used the zone read 18 times entering the week, but had no more than six rushes on those plays in a game
According to offensive EPA, the Ravens had the most inefficient offense in the NFL in their last 8 games (since Week 10). During the last 2 games, the Ravens offense contributed -41.8 expected points to their net scoring margin.
  [+]
Joe Flacco had a 13.1 Total QBR against the Bengals, and his combined Total QBR over the last 2 games was 12.2 (1 Pass TD, 5 Int). Flacco averaged 3.8 yards per pass attempt against the Bengals, his lowest average of the season. Flacco is the 3rd-highest paid quarterback in the NFL using the average cash value of the first 3 years of his current contract ($20.7 M). Using that measure, Flacco finished well below the standard of the top 5 highest paid quarterbacks in the league in terms of Total QBR (among qualified quarterbacks).
  [+]
Andy Dalton was intercepted on his first pass Sunday against the Ravens. It was Dalton's eighth career interception against Baltimore, his most versus any team.
Andy Dalton's 2nd, 3rd and 4th interceptions of the game were on passes thrown to A.J. Green. Dalton now has 12 interceptions on passes targeting Green this season (most by a QB-WR duo this season).
With the Ravens now eliminated from the playoffs... Eight straight defending Super Bowl champions have failed to win a playoff game. The last defending Super Bowl champion to win a playoff game was the 2005 Patriots.

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