Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 27-24 win over Bengals | COMMENTARY

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Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after a 27-24 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Sunday’s Week 2 game at Paycor Stadium:


This was Lamar Jackson’s best game as a professional. He put passes in spots where only his receivers could make plays and was efficient inside the red zone. Not only did he show nice touch on several passes, but he was in command at the line of scrimmage. The back-shoulder 17-yard touchdown pass he threw to Nelson Agholor in the fourth quarter was excellent, but he also threw a nice ball on the 52-yard reception to Zay Flowers in the third. Jackson completed 24 of 33 passes for 237 yards and two touchdowns while rushing 12 times for 54 yards. Grade: A


Offensive line

Were the Ravens without two starters? Really? The Bengals got some pressure on Jackson, but he had plenty of time to throw, which was why he was so accurate. The Ravens were good inside with guards Kevin Zeitler and John Simpson, and both tackles — Patrick Mekari and Morgan Moses — did well pushing ends Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson past Jackson on his drop-backs. Grade: A

Running backs

Despite missing starting running back J.K. Dobbins, who is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, backups Gus Edwards and Justin Hill were dominant. Edwards showed good explosion, bursting through the line of scrimmage and rushing for 62 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries. In short-yardage situations, he was nearly unstoppable. Hill was a speed threat and had the burst to get to the outside. He finished with 41 yards on 11 carries. They were a good inside-outside combination. Grade: A



Agholor had five catches for 63 yards and tight end Mark Andrews had five for 45. Both had a touchdown as part of a balanced passing attack. Flowers, a rookie, had four catches for 62 yards and is a threat to score from anywhere on the field. The touchdown pass from Jackson to Agholor was a play the Ravens had success running throughout training camp. Rashod Bateman and Odell Beckham Jr. each had three catches. The bad news is that Beckham left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury, though Harbaugh said he doesn’t believe it’s serious. Grade: B

Defensive line

The Ravens were solid against the run but seemed to wear down in the second half. They didn’t get a lot of pressure on quarterback Joe Burrow but enough to keep him from consistently stepping up in the pocket. Tackles Justin Madubuike and Michael Pierce were solid in the middle, finishing with two tackles apiece, while Travis Jones had five. Grade: B


Inside linebackers Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen are playing extremely well, and unlike last season, Queen isn’t missing tackles. Both are every-down players. Queen finished with eight tackles and Smith had five. Outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney seems to be settling into his role as a pass-rush specialist and was consistently pressuring Burrow on his way to four tackles, a sack and two quarterback hurries. Odafe Oweh didn’t play much because of an undisclosed injury, and fellow edge rusher David Ojabo didn’t make much of an impact either. Grade: B+


The Ravens were without two starters in cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who is expected to be back soon, and safety Marcus Williams, who isn’t, but this group held up well against one of the better passing offenses in the NFL. Cornerback Rock Ya-Sin stripped Ja’Marr Chase of a possible touchdown catch in the end zone in the second quarter and Williams’ replacement, Geno Stone, picked off Burrow in the end zone in the third. The Ravens weren’t great, but they made some outstanding plays in a key AFC North showdown. Stone led the Ravens in tackles with nine and cornerback Ar’Darius Washington had five. Grade: B-

Special teams

The Ravens allowed an 81-yard punt return touchdown by rookie Charlie Jones early in the second quarter and Justin Tucker missed a 59-yard field goal attempt, but he also converted on field goals of 44 and 40 yards. Punter Jordan Stout averaged 58 yards on two punts and the coverage units seemed to get the message after giving up the score to Jones. Grade: C+


Despite this being only the second game under offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s new system, the Ravens were balanced — rushing 37 times and passing 33. They controlled the line of scrimmage and Monken was excellent calling jet sweeps to eat up the clock late in the game. Defensively, the Ravens gave up 282 yards, which was expected, but coordinator Mike Macdonald kept Cincinnati’s offense out of rhythm for nearly two and a half quarters. Physically, the Ravens haven’t changed their identity. They came out and dominated Cincinnati on both sides of the ball. Grade: B+