Bengals flat in first half, trail Ravens

Both the Ravens and the Bengals have something at stake today. Baltimore is trying to win its division, Cincinnati trying simply to get into the postseason.

Through one half, however, it’s been a dud for the Bengals. They trail the Ravens 17-3 at halftime and while production has seen flashes of potential, the result has been just one scoring drive.

Things couldn’t have started out much worse than they did when Ravens running back Ray Rice took a handoff 70 yards for a touchdown on the game’s opening drive. It took four plays to go 80 yards and only 2:02 to put Cincinnati into an early hole.

Offensively the Bengals have had two three-and-outs and a missed field goal, the kinds of errors a team fighting for its playoff lives can’t afford to make. Defensively, meanwhile, it was a half to forget. Rice, aided by his 70-yard burst, has 96 yards on the ground and Ricky Williams has 21 more, while the front seven has yet to register a sack or force a turnover. A late touchdown in the second quarter’s closing minutes has turned a one-score game into a sizeable deficit for a team struggling to put points on the board.

Here are a few other stats as we get ready to start the second half:

* While the Ravens’ rushing attack has shown up, the Bengals’ is on a break. Cedric Benson has just 10 yards on five carries.

* Baltimore has 220 total yards, compared to 104 for Cincinnati.

* The Bengals are also losing the first-down battle, 11 to 5.

* Time of possession has been balanced. The Bengals are at 14:07 and the Ravens are at 15:53.

* Andy Dalton is nine-of-14 for 85 yards. He hasn’t thrown a touchdown, but hasn’t surrendered a turnover, either.

* The Bengals will get the ball to start the second half.