In recent weeks I have written about the struggles of cornerback Lardarius Webb, who was picked on by quarterbacks in the season’s first eight games. So I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how good Webb looked in Sunday’s 20-17 overtime win over the Cincinnati Bengals, when he was all over the field.
Webb got his hands on six passes, recorded his first interception of the season and came close to getting a couple more when he jumped quick slant passes and got to the ball right as the wide receiver got there.
For the first time since tearing his left ACL in a win last October, Webb looked like the Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback that we saw pre-injury. It is too soon to say that Webb is all the way back, but his performance in Sunday’s win gives hope that he will eventually get back to being the Webb we saw in 2011 and 2012.
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"I feel like I'm getting better and better," Webb said after the win. "I'm feeling healthy. I had a great week of practice. We got to keep working and build on this game."
As I wrote last week, Webb entered Sunday's game ranked 72nd among qualifying cornerbacks in yards allowed per snap in coverage, according to Pro Football Focus.
Against the Bengals, he was targeted a dozen times by quarterback Andy Dalton, who completed four of those passes for 58 yards. Webb fared particularly well against A.J. Green. The star Bengals wide receiver had eight catches for 151 yards and a touchdown, but he had just only one catch for a loss of one yard against Webb.
The Ravens utilized Webb’s skills a lot in the slot, where he was once one of the NFL’s best nickel cornerbacks. They asked him to blitz on a handful of plays and at least twice he leaped to swat one of Dalton’s passes down at the line. He was also credited with three quarterback hurries, Per Footfall Focus, and had five tackles.
After the game, coach John Harbaugh thanked a reporter for asking about Webb’s play and praised secondary coach Teryl Austin for his work with the defensive backs.
It was maybe the secondary’s best game of the season, and it definitely was for Webb, who in the locker room was already looking forward to getting back to work today.
“It was a great victory for the team to build our confidence,” the 28-year-old cornerback said. “But we’ve got to go back to work [Monday] and get better.”