Bengals 42 , Ravens 29
The Bengals are 8-3 as a franchise for the first time since 1988.
The Bengals led 34-0 with 1:47 left in the third quarter when the Ravens Derrick Mason caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Boller. It was the first of three touchdowns in a span of 4:49 for the Ravens.
The Ravens came in last in the NFL in scoring at 11.6 points a game.
Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer threw for three touchdowns and 302 yards, the fifth 300-yard game of his career.
Rudi Johnson ran 27 times for 114 yards and two touchdowns, handing the ball to offensive tackles Levi Jones and Willie Anderson, who spiked the ball.
The Bengals are one-half game ahead of idle Pittsburgh in the AFC North. The Steelers are 7-3 and play Monday night at Indianapolis.
The Bengals will play Sunday at Pittsburgh in a game that could give them a two-game division lead with four games to play.
The victory today against Baltimore was also important for the Bengals because it improved their division record to 3-1. Division record is the second playoff tiebreaker behind head-to-head competition.
Still first in the NFL with 33 takeaways in 11 games, the Bengals have scored an NFL best 115 points off turnovers. The Bengals’ 23 interceptions are three more than they had all of 2004.
Wide receiver T.J Houshmandzadeh had nine receptions for 147 yards and one touchdown, but he suffered a blow to the head on a 27-yard gain toward the end of the third quarter and returned midway through the fourth quarter.
The Bengals took a 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter on a 26-yard field goal by Shayne Graham.
The field goal capped a 15-play, 91-yard drive that consumed 8:07. The drive started on the Bengals’ 2-yard line, following a 32-yard pooch punt by kicker Aaron Elling. The Ravens had lined up for a 52-yard field goal attempt.
The slow, plodding pace of the game was in contrast to the high-scoring clip of the Bengals-Colts game last week. They combined for 24 points in the first quarter and 62 in the first half.
The Bengals took advantage of the inability of Ravens quarterback Kyle Boller to hold onto the ball. Twice Boller went back to pass and dropped the ball.
Bengals cornerback Deltha O’Neal also intercepted Boller, O’Neal’s seventh of the season and first since Oct. 30 against Green Bay.
O’Neal made a diving catch at the Bengals 11-yard line. A 20-yard pass interference penalty against Ravens cornerback Samari Rolle on Chad Johnson moved the ball to the 34. Three plays later, with a first down on the 46-yard line, Palmer threw 54 yards for a touchdown to Johnson. He beat cornerback Dale Carter, and there was no deep safety help.
The Bengals, leading 3-0, scored their first touchdown in the second quarter on a 67-yard, six-play drive. Two completions to Houshmandzadeh covered 41 yards. Ravens safety Will Demps was penalized half the distance to the goal for tackling Houshmandzadeh by the facemask, moving the ball to the Ravens’ 6-yard line. After one incomplete pass, Rudi Johnson ran left behind a Levi Jones block for a six-yard touchdown, Johnson’s sixth of the season.
Notes: Chad Johnson went into the locker room in the third quarter to get an IV to treat leg cramps. … Bengals middle linebacker Odell Thurman suffered leg cramps but returned. He later forced a fumble that was recovered by fellow rookie linebacker David Pollack. … Rookie cornerback Patrick Body left the game with an ankle sprain. … Linebacker Brian Simmons had the wind knocked out of him in the fourth quarter but returned one play later.