Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 19-17 win over Bengals | COMMENTARY

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Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after a 19-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Sunday night’s Week 5 matchup at M&T Bank Stadium.


Lamar Jackson’s interception led to a Bengals touchdown in the second quarter, and he missed two potential touchdown passes in the third by overthrowing Devin Duvernay down the middle of the field and badly missing a wide-open Tylan Wallace down the right sideline on fourth-and-2 from the Bengals’ 41. When Jackson (19-for-32 for 174 yards) struggles like he has the past two games, the Ravens need to limit his passing attempts and make him more of a runner, which they did on the game-winning 50-yard drive in the final two minutes that led to Justin Tucker’s last-second 43-yard field goal. Jackson carried the ball four times on that drive, including a 19-yard scramble. Grade: C


Running backs

The Ravens were without Justice Hill (hamstring), who made strides in recent weeks as an outside threat, but got a strong inside effort from J.K. Dobbins. There were times when Dobbins appeared to get stopped in the backfield, but he kept his legs moving and picked up tough yards. In his third game returning from a season-ending knee injury, Dobbins rushed for 44 yards on eight carries and combined with Jackson (12 carries for 58 yards) to wear down the Bengals’ defense in the second half. Kenyan Drake added 26 yards on four carries. Grade: C+

Offensive line

This game marked the return of Pro Bowl left tackle Ronnie Stanley from an ankle injury after a nearly two-year absence. The 2016 first-round pick was basically on a pitch count as he alternated possessions with Patrick Mekari, which worked out nicely since both are recovering from injuries. Stanley ran well when he played, and the Ravens’ pass blocking held up for most of the game as the Bengals recorded only one sack. There were times when the Ravens allowed too much penetration on running plays, but Cincinnati has two strong defensive ends in Sam Hubbard and Trey Hendrickson. Right tackle Morgan Moses had a strong game, especially in the first half. Grade: B-



The Ravens finally got Duvernay mixed into the offense the way the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins have used slot receiver Tyreek Hill. With Rashod Bateman out with a foot injury, Duvernay not only saw the most targets of any Ravens wide receiver but got handed the ball in the backfield and was used as a decoy to confuse Cincinnati’s defense. He caught five passes on seven targets for 54 yards and had three carries for 24 yards. Tight end Mark Andrews was a major weapon with eight catches for 89 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Andrews and Duvernay formed a good 1-2 punch. Grade: C+

Defensive line

Calais Campbell had only one tackle but hit Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow twice. Fellow end Brent Urban had two tackles and also knocked down a Burrow pass at the line of scrimmage as the Ravens did a decent job of getting their hands into passing lanes. The Ravens still allowed 101 yards on 21 carries and had a hard time containing running back Joe Mixon, who finished with 14 carries for 78 yards. Grade: C


Outside linebacker Odafe Oweh turned in a second straight strong game, finishing with four tackles, including one for a loss. He did a good job getting into the backfield and holding the edge to force Mixon back inside the tackles. That wasn’t true on the other side, however, as veteran Jason Pierre-Paul got washed down inside way too often. Patrick Queen was tied for the team lead in tackles with seven and had an interception that led to a 58-yard field goal in the third quarter. Fellow inside linebacker Josh Bynes had six tackles, but the Ravens also missed a lot of them on Mixon and No. 2 running back Samaje Perine. Grade: C+


This often-maligned group turned in a strong effort against one of the best receiving groups in the NFL. The Bengals finished with 190 passing yards, but the Ravens didn’t give up any big plays after allowing almost 1,000 passing yards in the past two meetings against Cincinnati. Cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters were physical and got away with a lot of holding, but that’s a great strategy when few penalties are called. The Ravens also got a strong effort from rookie Damarion “Pepe” Williams as the No. 3 cornerback. Safety Marcus Williams’ wrist injury looms large for this group. Grade: B

Special teams

The Ravens need to take more chances with Duvernay as a return specialist and allow him more freedom because of his big-play potential. Rookie Jordan Stout averaged just 39.5 yards on two punts, but placed both of them inside the 20. Tucker was outstanding, as he made field goals from 37, 58, 25 and 43 yards. That’s a pretty good day by anyone’s standards. Grade: A


The Ravens’ defense gave the Bengals a lot of different looks that proved effective, including walking up late to the line of scrimmage in press coverage. The defense clearly played with a chip on its shoulder. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman worked Duvernay into the game plan nicely, but I’m not sure why it took so long. After two devastating blown leads at home, coach John Harbaugh had his team ready for this prime-time matchup. Grade: B

The Ravens' Justin Tucker and the special teams unit earned an "A" from columnist Mike Preston.