Ravens prepare to deal with Bengals’ “Batman & Robin”

Street Talk Ravens prepare to deal with Bengals’ “Batman & Robin”

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CINCINNATI – Batman and Robin?

Twitter taunts intended to touch opponents’ nerves, and make people laugh?

The dynamic duo?

What’s next? Are the Riddler and the Joker coming to town?

The Baltimore Ravens are all about business today when they take on the Cincinnati Bengals’ flamboyant wide receiver tandem of Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens.

As far as the Ravens are concerned, they have plenty of serious football matters to concentrate on, not trading jibes with Ochocinco via social networking sites.

Swept by the Bengals last season for the third time in the past five years, the Ravens’ defense hopes to play Mr. Freeze to put Owens and Ochocinco on ice. The talented receivers have dubbed themselves Batman and Robin.

"That’s funny that they call themselves that," cornerback Fabian Washington said. "That’s cool, that’s fun. We don’t worry about that, though. We’re all about football. I like Twitter, too, but it’s not football. Football isn’t about joking around.

"You can’t hide on the field behind your computer. They’re two of the better receivers to play this game, period. Of course, they’re going to be a tough challenge. I’m a guy that’s willing to step up to the plate. I’m ready to play ball. Let’s go."

The Ravens flustered New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez last Monday night during a 10-9 victory to open the season, holding him to a mere 74 passing yards.

However, Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer and his offense is a much more formidable adversary.

Palmer has passed for 2,732 yards in 11 career games against Baltimore with 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions with a passer rating of 87.7.

"Carson Palmer, premier quarterback," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Has proven it, has really proven it against the Ravens. How many times has he played well against the Ravens in the last eight years or so. We’ve got our hands full with that offense."

And Ochocinco has been ultra-productive with 87 career receptions for 1,317 yards and seven touchdowns. He has averaged 4.8 catches and 73.2 yards per contest against Baltimore.

Ochocinco runs precise routes and has the speed to get deep.

He also does his best to get inside a cornerback’s head with his swaggering personality.

"It’s like boxing and chess playing against him," Washington said. "You’re going to get some good blows. At the same time, you’ve got to be smart and strategic against him. He’s crafty."

Ochocinco, who has a VH1 reality dating show, never lacks for confidence.

"I will destroy the Ravens secondary," Ochocinco wrote on his Twitter account Friday.

Owens has caught 20 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns in four career games against Baltimore. His most memorable game against Baltimore came when he was with the Philadelphia Eagles and caught the game-winning touchdown before imitating All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis’ signature dance in the end zone, much to Lewis’ irritation.

Washington didn’t allow a catch last week against the Jets as Sanchez completed only 10 of 21 passes with one third down conversion in 11 attempts.

In the Bengals’ 38-24 loss to the New England Patriots, Ochocinco caught 12 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown while Owens hauled in seven catches for 53 yards.

"It’s a challenge," Washington said. "It’s a bigger challenge than last week. They’re better than the Jets’ receivers. We don’t expect to hold these guys to 70 passing yards or whatever.

"What we have to do is keep the ball from going over our heads. They’re going to make some plays. You just want to be sure they aren’t making big plays against you."

Owens, 36, is up in years and coming off a subpar year with the Buffalo Bills.

However, the famously controversial receiver looked effective against the Patriots.

At 6-foot-3, 224 pounds, Owens is capable of muscling smaller defensive backs for the football.

"T.O. can run," Washington said. "He can run. And with his size, it creates some challenges. I can run also. I don’t even worry about if receivers are fast. I don’t lose no sleep over fast receivers."

Last year, the Ravens allowed Bengals running back Cedric Benson to rush for 100 yards twice against them.

He became the first opposing runner to eclipse the century mark against Baltimore in 40 games. And he joined former Pittsburgh Steelers runner Jerome Bettis as the lone back to accomplish that feat.

It stung the Ravens’ pride.

"I wouldn’t say we owe them because it’s a new year," Washington said. "We put last year behind us. We want to win this game because this is a division game. You’ve got to win these games to get to the playoffs.

"The last time we played them in Cincinnati, I remember we didn’t play very well. I’m putting it behind me. Hopefully, everybody else on the team can put it behind them and we can execute our game plan."

The Bengals have other weapons beyond Owens and Ochocinco.

The Bengals drafted athletic tight end Jermaine Gresham in the first round. He caught six passes against New England, including his first touchdown.

Cincinnati also added former University of Texas wide receiver Jordan Shipley in the third round. Shipley caught five passes for 82 yards against the Patriots.

"They’ve got weapons all the way across, they’ve done a great job of putting that together," Harbaugh said. "Jermaine Gresham is a talented guy. We liked him a lot. We might have drafted him if he was still sitting there.

"You can’t sleep on those guys. I just think you’ve got to be able to cover all those guys, and that’s what makes them dangerous."

Although the Bengals got off to a bad start against the Patriots, falling behind 24-3 by halftime with both Ochocinco (IV) and Owens (cleat issue) heading to the locker room early, the Ravens expect to see a tough opponent today at Paul Brown Stadium.

"The Bengals will get back to being the Bengals," Harbaugh said. "They’ll get back to what they did last year. They handed it to us twice in convincing fashion, and that’s the team we expect to see on Sunday."

The Ravens have lost five of their past seven games to Cincinnati.

And the Ravens’ defense allowed Palmer to pile up a total of 495 passing yards last season.

Riding a wave of momentum after the win over the Jets, the Ravens aren’t taking the Bengals for granted.

"I don’t think it’s a natural letdown, not when you get swept by the Bengals last year," Lewis said. "Everybody is talking about the way they played against New England. The bottom line, if you’ve been around the business long enough, if you fall for that, you’ll fall for anything."


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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors.  More from Aaron Wilson


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