Sports

Bengals 1st win in Baltimore a breakthrough in the big picture

  • Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) rallies the offense during the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Md., Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

    Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) rallies the offense during the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Md., Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)  (The Associated Press)

  • Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) passes the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Md., Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

    Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) passes the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Md., Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)  (The Associated Press)

  • Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) catches a 77-yard touchdown pass under pressure from Baltimore Ravens defensive back Chykie Brown (23) during the second half of an NFL football game in Baltimore, Md., Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. The Bengals defeated the Ravens 23-16. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

    Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) catches a 77-yard touchdown pass under pressure from Baltimore Ravens defensive back Chykie Brown (23) during the second half of an NFL football game in Baltimore, Md., Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. The Bengals defeated the Ravens 23-16. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)  (The Associated Press)

No playing this one down. The Bengals got off to a good start by making a significant breakthrough for a team that has only a few more left to make during the regular season.

Their 23-16 win in Baltimore on Sunday showed they're ready to defend their AFC North title and make a push toward a fourth straight playoff appearance.

Quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green had never won in Baltimore, but hooked up on a 77-yard touchdown pass that pulled out a win.

It was an encouraging showing all-around with a few shortcomings that can be fixed.

The Bengals (1-0) have their home opener on Sunday against Atlanta (1-0), which beat New Orleans 37-34 in overtime for its own breakthrough.

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Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL