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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