Bam Morris ran for 117 yards on 21 carries, and ran all over the Bengals' defense. Fullback Carwell Gardner, used sparingly, was ineffective.
Vinny Testaverde wasn't exceptionally hot, but he was effective, especially on the final drive. Several of his passes were dropped, and one was intercepted when he and receiver Michael Jackson had a miscommunication.
Rookie Jermaine Lewis had a successful debut as a starter even though he started slowly by dropping two of three passes on the first series. Jackson had a big day and tight end Brian Kinchen and wide receiver Derrick Alexander were effective despite catching only two passes each.
Realistically, the linemen didn't play badly, as the Ravens rushed for 123 yards and had 322 of total offense. But when it counted, they failed at the goal line, and that's the bottom line to offensive linemen.
Anthony Pleasant and James Jones had decent games, helping shut down the Bengals' running game, and the line as a whole played well enough to win.
Despite being banged up, the group played well and with intensity. Eddie Sutter and Ray Lewis had great pursuit, and Keith Goganious was a factor.
The unit again gave up big plays and this time it can't blame the pass rush. The cornerbacks have been hurt by playing soft all season, and they keep giving up the short hitches and out patterns. The safeties make big hits, but too often after receivers have gotten first downs.
Greg Montgomery averaged 44.0 yards per punt, but Matt Stover missed a field-goal attempt and was short on his kickoffs. Jermaine Lewis was excellent on his returns.
Pub Date: 12/09/96