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Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 27-3 win over Bengals | COMMENTARY

Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after Sunday’s 27-3 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after a 27-3 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

Quarterback

Lamar Jackson didn’t practice most of the week and it showed. At times Sunday, he appeared to regress from the progress he made last season. He had trouble connecting with his receivers on intermediate and long passes, held onto the ball way too long and threw a bunch of passes across his body in the middle of the field, several of which should have been intercepted. He needs to stop dropping his elbow when throwing. This might have been his worst game as a Raven. Grade: D

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Running backs

The Ravens use the running back-by-committee approach, but seldom is one back allowed to get into a rhythm. This method might tire some teams out in the fourth quarter, but Mark Ingram II, Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins don’t get a chance to dominate. Ingram finished with 57 rushing yards on 11 carries, while Edwards had 25 yards on seven carries. The Ravens need to get more out of their running backs. Without Jackson as a rushing threat, this group doesn’t have enough speed or burst to get to the edge. Grade: C

Offensive line

This group wasn’t as bad as it looked. Jackson had plenty of time to throw, but he was slow to make decisions and held onto the ball too long. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley and right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. were solid, but slow. Left guard Bradley Bozeman played well, but the Ravens need some help at right guard and center. The Ravens played without injured right guard Tyre Phillips. Grade C-

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Receivers

The team’s best receiver is tight end Mark Andrews, who has become Jackson’s security blanket. Andrews had six catches for 56 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown reception. The Bengals allowed Andrews to constantly get free off the line of scrimmage. Marquise Brown had six catches for 77 yards and a 2-yard touchdown, but he is still inconsistent catching the ball. The Ravens need to get rookie receiver Devin Duvernay and his speed more involved in the offense. Grade: C

Defensive line

This is one of the few games during the past two or three seasons in which the Ravens got pressure on the quarterback with their front four. Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams and Derek Wolfe shut down the Bengals' running game, which allowed the Ravens to get substitutions such as rookie Justin Madubuike and Jihad Ward some playing time. Wolfe had three tackles, while Williams and Campbell combined for four. Grade: A

Linebackers

Outside linebacker Matthew Judon was the best defensive player on the field. He might not have had the best statistics (three tackles), but he hustled on just about every play, often running down ball-carriers on the other side of the field. Fellow outside linebacker Pernell McPhee had five tackles, including one sack, and four hits on the quarterback. The Ravens blitzed at will and L.J. Fort, Patrick Queen and Tyus Bowser helped control the line of scrimmage. Queen finished with nine tackles and returned a fumble 53 yards for a touchdown. Grade: A

Secondary

The Ravens didn’t get challenged because Joe Burrow didn’t have time to throw and the Ravens smothered the Bengals receivers. Cornerbacks Marcus Peters, Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey kept the receivers in front of them and tackled well to make sure there weren’t any big plays. Humphrey forced the fumble that led to Queen’s scoop-and-score and had one sack. Peters had an interception and a sack. Safeties DeShon Elliott (five tackles) and Chuck Clark (nine tackles) were excellent at blitzing and each had a sack. Grade: A

Special teams

The Bengals have good a special teams unit coached by former Ravens assistant Darrin Simmons, so for the Ravens to play even with them Sunday was a plus. The Ravens didn’t get any big plays but also didn’t allow any. Kicker Justin Tucker missed a 61-yard field-goal attempt, but that’s a tough one to make. He converted on two other tries from 46 and 39 yards. Grade: C+

Coaching

The Ravens defense played an excellent game and completely thwarted the Bengals in every phase. The offense, at this point, needs a lot of work. The Ravens have no identity and can’t decide if they want to be a running or passing team. Here’s a hint: run the darn ball. Jackson isn’t sophisticated enough at this point in his career to rely on his passing. Grade: C

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