Down 27-0 with just 37 seconds left in the game, the Cincinnati Bengals elected to kick a field goal in a Week 5 loss at Baltimore. It was the only blemish on a nearly flawless performance by the Ravens defense, but that decision certainly caught the attention of defense coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale.
“He knew what it was because it was awful quiet when I yelled it across the field,” Martindale said when asked his reaction to the late field goal. “There are some people that take that as a victory.”
“We’ll have plenty to talk about the next time we play them.”
These two teams will meet again Week 17 in Cincinnati. The Ravens were denied their first shutout victory since Oct. 14, 2018 against the Titans, but still left the game with the top-ranked defense in the NFL. That is thanks in large part to pressure on the quarterback from all levels of the defense. According to Pro Football Reference, Baltimore became the first team in NFL history to have five defensive backs record a sack in a single game.
“People like to say, ‘high-risk, high-reward,’ yet we’re No. 1 in scoring defense,” Martindale said. “If you’re coming off that bus and you’re a nose or you’re a corner, be ready to be a free runner to the quarterback because we want to hit the quarterback, and I think all 11 guys are eligible to go do that.”
“You can get that out of Wink,” cornerback Jimmy Smith said after recording a sack against the Bengals. “He likes to send his DB’s, he likes to send everybody from anywhere.”
Defensive dominance is something the Ravens have always prided themselves on, and if you ask Smith this year’s group ranks right up there with the top ranked defenses in franchise history.
“2011 comes to mind when I think about it,” Smith said. “2017 I want to say when I think of strong defenses we’ve had. This ranks right up there with all of them as far as depth, talent and veteran leadership.”