The Baltimore Sun



Steve McNair lost three fumbles and had one interception. He picked up where he left off last season in the Indianapolis game, and that's not good. His timing was off on everything from handoffs to pass plays. Backup quarterback Kyle Boller tried to make plays and came close in a tough situation.

Running backs


Willis McGahee looked a lot better in the regular season than he did in the preseason. He made nice cuts and showed good acceleration, finishing with 77 yards on 19 carries. Backup Musa Smith also looked fresh and had 30 yards on five carries. Note to Brian Billick: Just give McGahee the ball.

Offensive line


The Ravens could be in trouble without Pro Bowl left offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, who left with an injury early in the second quarter. The line had trouble handling the Bengals' blitzes, especially off the corner. But for a young group, it did OK. And if given the opportunity, the line can run block.



Where was tight end Todd Heap? He spent a lot of time pass blocking to help the tackles, and the Ravens didn't get him into routes. Receiver Derrick Mason had a good night with seven catches for 75 yards, but second-year receiver Demetrius Williams still has to hang on to the ball.

Defensive line


On a hot night, the group held up well, especially in the first half when the Bengals held the ball on offense a lot. The Ravens used a lot of players in the lineup, and Trevor Pryce, Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg did a good job of keeping offensive linemen off inside linebacker Ray Lewis.



Lewis (11 tackles) played most of the game with one arm and turned in one of his best performances in two years. Lewis could have taken himself out of the game but stayed in and was a force. Terrell Suggs had a lot of success rushing quarterback Carson Palmer, and Jarret Johnson was excellent running down ball carriers from the back side.



Safety Dawan Landry appeared to give up the long first-quarter touchdown pass to Chad Johnson. The group struggled in the first half but turned it up in the second. Cornerback Samari Rolle was good in coverage and strong in run support. Safety Ed Reed smacked everything in sight.

Special teams


Return specialist B.J. Sams started off slow but played well after that. Overall, the Ravens' offense started off in good position with an average start on their own 34-yard line. Ed Reed returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown.

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