Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after Sunday’s 23-17 win over Bengals.
Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after Sunday’s 23-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Lamar Jackson’s legs were his top weapons, especially when he ran option plays off the perimeter. The Bengals slowed Jackson a little in the second half, but he already did extensive damage in the first. The Ravens were cautious with the passing game as Jackson stayed with the short to intermediate stuff. Against winless Cincinnati, there was no need to take a risk. Jackson ran for 152 yards and passed for 236. He was nearly unstoppable. Grade: B+
Jackson was also the Ravens’ top running back, opening up room between the tackles for starting halfback Mark Ingram II. Ingram and backup Gus Edwards combined for 86 yards on 19 carries. The Ravens also used rookie running back Justice Hill on some plays to the outside, which were effective early in the game as Hill had five rushes for 31 yards. Ingram closed out the game well on the Ravens’ 18-play, 83-yard drive in the fourth quarter that lasted nearly 10 minutes. Grade: B
Left tackle Ronnie Stanley is quietly having the best season of his career. Not only is he good at the point of attack, but he has done well blocking and sealing off the second level from the backside. He is often making key blocks downfield when Jackson scrambles. Right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. is a good run blocker, but Jackson makes him look even better by avoiding the pass rush when Brown gets beaten off the edge. Center Matt Skura is solid and so is right guard Marshal Yanda, even though he isn’t as dominant as he was in previous years. Guard Bradley Bozeman struggled and had at least four penalties. He could be making his way to the bench soon. Grade: B-
The blocking by this group is underrated because the Ravens lock and hold on to blocks even after the catch. Tight end Mark Andrews came up big with six catches for 99 yards and continues to show he can work any area of the field. But he needs to cut down on the hurdling stuff. Other teams have seen the video, too, and the move cost him a fumble Sunday. Willie Snead IV had three catches for 18 yards and the Ravens continue to work rookie Miles Boykin (two catches, 28 yards) into the game plan. But the passing game was secondary to the running game Sunday. Grade: C+
Without their top two tackles, the Bengals got very little on the ground, finishing with 33 rushing yards on 14 carries. Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce dominated inside and Cincinnati couldn’t run inside the tackles. End Chris Wormley also had a presence inside and finished with two tackles. Without facing the threat of a running game, the Ravens had no fear of the Bengals’ play-action fakes and forced Cincinnati to be one-dimensional. Again, though, there was no pass rush inside. Grade: B+
Outside linebackers Pernell McPhee and Matthew Judon played strong, disciplined games until they lost their composure near the end. Both held the edge well, and McPhee finished with three tackles while Judon added a sack. They didn’t have spectacular games but made a lot of hustle plays. L.J. Fort started for the first time this season at weak-side linebacker and did a good job of shedding blockers and getting to the ball carrier. Middle linebacker Josh Bynes turned in his second strong game with three tackles, but rookie Jaylon Ferguson continues to have problems holding the edge. The Ravens had little pass rush until the end of the game, when the Bengals had no other choice but to throw. Grade: B+
It was hard to get a good read on this group because Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw a lot of quick, three-step-drop-back passes, especially to the outside of the field. There isn’t much you can do about that besides playing press coverage, but the Ravens were content to make the Bengals earn every yard instead of giving up big plays. Cornerback Maurice Canady got picked on for the second straight week, but safeties Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott played well in run support and defending the long pass. It was encouraging to see players in position to make plays. Clark finished with three tackles. Grade: C
The Ravens allowed a 92-yard return for a touchdown on the opening kickoff and that’s unacceptable. The Ravens were successful pinning the Steelers deep with high kickoffs last week, but they didn’t need to do that against the Bengals, who have virtually no offense. Justin Tucker bailed the Ravens offense out with field goals of 40, 49 and 21 yards, but that can’t happen against good teams. The Ravens will need to score touchdowns on those drives. On two other kickoff returns, the Ravens allowed an average of 25 yards. That’s too many. Grade: C
The Ravens basically stayed with the script, which they hadn’t done the past two weeks. They wanted to run the ball and were able to chew up the Bengals, especially with Jackson running to the outside. They were conservative in the passing game, and that worked well because they didn’t need to gamble. Defensively, the Ravens dominated but still need to be more consistent with their pass rush and in the secondary. There is no excuse at this point in the season for having 12 players on the field. Sometimes the Ravens tend to overthink on special teams. Grade: B