Joe Flacco looked downright impressive in the first half. Are we seeing sustained eliteness? I certainly hope not. Flacco is much more entertaining as a mediocrity who demands to be thought of as elite than an actually good quarterback. Nevertheless, he connected deep with Torrey Smith on the first play then with Anquan Boldin for a score in the second quarter, along with several other rather nice throws. Almost as noteworthy as Ray Lewis riding a bike in the off-season to lose weight, which has only been mentioned every other snap at this point.

The scab refs jobbed A.J. Green out of a catch, but Marvin Lewis deserves just as much grief for not challenging what the play. Despite Gruden repeatedly describing Cincy’s defense as being gashed, often more than once a play, the Bengals are very much in it, thanks to a rather ballsy playcall by Lewis to run it in with Law Firm in the waning seconds of the half.

Despite my standard procedure of never saying anything not needlessly cruel about ESPN, I will say the booth is considerably less awful with Jaws gone.