Mike Preston's Report Card

Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 41-17 loss to Bengals | COMMENTARY

Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after a 41-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium:


The result of this game is what happens when Lamar Jackson doesn’t dominate, control the tempo and mask the Ravens’ weaknesses. Jackson rushed 12 times for 88 yards and completed 15 of 31 passes for 257 yards, but he missed several open receivers in the first half, two of which might have resulted in touchdowns. He also held the ball too long, which contributed to the Bengals recording five sacks. Grade: C


Offensive line

The Ravens had very little success running the ball except for Jackson’s 12 carries and had no outside threat on the perimeter. The Bengals’ defensive line is much more athletic than the Ravens’ offensive line, and the Bengals were able to get off blocks easily as a result. The pass protection was solid, but the Ravens didn’t get much help from Jackson. Grade: C-

Running backs

The statistics tell the story. Starting running back Devonta Freeman had 14 yards on four carries and backup Le’Veon Bell had 5 yards on five attempts. The Ravens even played youngster Ty’Son Williams, the forgotten man, but he had only 10 yards on two carries. That’s enough. This running game scares only one team, and that’s the Los Angeles Chargers. Grade: F



This group had a strange day, and maybe it was because of Cincinnati’s coverage. The receivers struggled to get open across the middle, particularly tight end Mark Andrews and receiver Marquise Brown. But the Ravens couldn’t get much outside the numbers, either, at least not consistently. Rookie Rashod Bateman (three catches for 80 yards) turned in another good game in only his second appearance, and Brown had a diving 39-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, but the timing was off with this group and Jackson. Grade: C+

Defensive line

The Bengals rushed for 111 yards and had touchdown runs of 21 and 46 yards in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Either the Ravens tried to make too many plays in the second half or wore down, but this group had little impact in the final two quarters. In the first half, the Ravens were strong up front, especially tackles Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams and Justin Madubuike, but some of those cutback runs were devastating, especially late in the game. Campbell finished with five tackles and Madubuike had four. Grade: C-


Like the entire defense, the inside linebackers got off to a strong start, but that quickly faded. The Bengals got to inside linebackers Josh Bynes (five tackles) and Patrick Queen, especially with cutback runs, which is a smart way to take advantage of a fast defense. Outside linebacker Justin Houston got decent pressure on quarterback Joe Burrow, and Tyus Bowser (six tackles) played well against the run, but Pernell McPhee, Malik Harrison and rookie Odafe Oweh made no major contributions. Grade: D-


It’s hard to tell which group will show up week to week for the Ravens. Marlon Humphrey is a good cornerback and he plays well against big receivers, but he doesn’t match up well against speed on the outside. Fellow cornerback Anthony Averett held up well despite being picked on (unsuccessfully) early in the first half, but the safeties, Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott, were no help on the back end as the Ravens gave up several big plays and 416 passing yards. Their mistakes are inexcusable. Grade: D-

Special teams

Devin Duvernay tried to give the offense a boost by averaging 18.5 yards on two punt returns and 22.5 yards on two kickoff returns. Rookie receiver Tylan Wallace continued to play well in coverage with one tackle and one assist. Sam Koch averaged 44 yards on six punts, including two inside the 20-yard line. He also had a long of 50 yards. Justin Tucker converted his only field-goal attempt of 45 yards. Grade: B


The Ravens were pitiful and dominated in every phase of the game, with the possible exception of special teams. They looked like a team ready to go on a bye week, and so did the coaching staff. The Ravens went from the ultimate high in a blowout win over the Chargers a week ago to the ultimate low Sunday. Grade: D-

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow throws a pass over the arms of Ravens outside linebacker Justin Houston in the fourth quarter on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.