Bengals defense caps strong second half against Ravens

The 10 points the Bengals allowed the Ravens in a 27-10 victory Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium lowered the team’s season average to 19.7.

And in the eight games since the bye the Cincinnati defense allowed just 15.8.

“That was important for the players and coaches alike,” Lewis said. “We realized we weren’t getting it done early in the first half of the season and they did a great job in the last half of limiting points and not giving up explosive plays. We went through a stretch where we were having mental breakdowns early in the game and we fixed that and that’s been good. We didn’t get off to the start that way in the way we needed to get over the hump.”

Strong starts have been key in the second half of the season, with Sunday’s game marking the fifth in a row in which the Bengals did not allow a first-half touchdown. The streak covered 23 drives and dated back to the Nov. 27 game at Baltimore when the Ravens went 75 yards in 11 plays for Joe Flacco to Breshad Perriman touchdown pass

The Bengals kept it alive despite Baltimore having first and goal at the 2 in second quarter. Safety Shawn Williams ended the threat by intercepting Flacco on first down.

Through the first 15 games, the Bengals defense had allowed opponents to score on 40 of 45 trips inside the red zone. Sunday they held the Ravens scoreless on their first two trips. After the Williams interception, rookie linebacker Nick Vigil broke up a Flacco pass intended for tight end Dennis Pitta on fourth and 2 from the 8 with 2:54 left in the third quarter.

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