The Ravens had kept dynamic wide receiver A.J. Green quiet all game.
Until he made the game-winning touchdown for the Bengals.
It was late in the fourth quarter and Green had five catches for 54 yards, and had mostly been a non-factor in a game where the Ravens were without veteran cornerback Lardarius Webb.
But it only takes one play for a home-run threat like Green to strike, and that's exactly what he did. Green ran by Ravens cornerback Chykie Brown and caught a 77-yard touchdown pass late with four minutes, 48 seconds left in the game to give the Bengals a 23-16 lead they would hold for the victory.
Brown got a hand on the pass despite being a step behind, but it popped right up to Green who made a juggling catch and then cruised into the end zone.
"I blame it on me," Brown said. "I was looking for the deep ball, but I have to play better technique. I have to stay on top of the man and that didn't happen."
Green's score was the Bengals' lone touchdown of the game, as Baltimore used a bend-but-don't-break defense that held Cincinnati to six field-goal attempts. The touchdown was a crushing blow as it came just two plays after an 80-yard touchdown catch by wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. that gave Baltimore their first lead of the game.
"I just have to make that play," Brown said. "I stayed confident. I had a pretty solid day, but I have to make up for that."
"The coverage was there," Head Coach John Harbaugh added. "It's a matter of a great player that got a step behind us and made a great play. Chykie got a hand in the air; he was beat by a step, though. He should stay on top there and he knows that."
Green finished the day with six catches for 131 yards.
Matching up against Green was a tough assignment for Brown, who started Sunday because Webb still isn't fully recovered from a back injury he suffered in training camp. Brown and cornerback Jimmy Smith both matched up against the Bengals' big-play receiver at times during the game.
"What he did at the end of the game is what he's known for. He does that all the time," Smith said. "That's on us. We should have come back and made that play.
"I don't think [Webb's absence] really crossed our mind. The guys that we have up are going to play hard. They played very well, but it's just that one glaring play. Obviously Chykie did an OK job. He got his hand on the ball, but it just wasn't enough to get it away."
It's unknown if Webb will be able to play Thursday when the Steelers come to town. If Webb is out again, the Ravens will likely turn to Brown again and he'll have a chance to make up for Sunday's tough play.
"I put that on me," Brown said. "I'm going to get that right. I have to get that right and then we'll be straight."