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Mike Preston's report card after the Ravens' win over the Bengals

Sports columnist Mike Preston gives his position grades for the Ravens' eleventh game of the season against the Bengals. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)

Quarterback

Joe Flacco has played better during the past three games. The Ravens have used him more as a game manager and they are moving him more in the pocket, where he is playing with more confidence. He still isn't at the top of his game, but at least is heading in the right direction. B-

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Running backs

The Bengals entered the game with one of the worst run defenses in the league and the Ravens finished with 92 yards on 30 carries. Both Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon had 13 carries, and Dixon finished with 49 yards, one more than West. The most impressive thing about both was the way they finished off runs and got yards after initial contact. B-

Offensive line

Left tackle Ronnie Stanley appeared to get his legs back under him, or at least shed some of the weight he gained when he was sidelined with an injury. The Ravens got strong efforts from guards Marshal Yanda and Vladimir Ducasse. In the past, the Ravens have struggled with Cincinnati's defensive line, but they had no problems. B

Receivers

Sunday was check-down day for Flacco, who completed 10 passes to his running backs. Wide receivers Mike Wallace and Steve Smith Sr. seemed to disappear at times. Wallace had three catches for 57 yards and tight end Dennis Pitta had three for 34. Breshad Perriman had a 14-yard touchdown reception but also dropped a long pass. C

Defensive line

For the second straight week, the Ravens seemed to tire in the second half. But overall, they held the Bengals to 64 rushing yards on 20 carries. Tackles Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce have become dominant against the run in the middle, and coordinator Dean Pees rotated a lot of players through. B

Linebackers

The Ravens improved in the open field, making one-on-one tackles. Zachary Orr and C.J. Mosley were strong inside, and Mosley has made significant progress in pass coverage. Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil got some pressure in passing situations. The Bengals have been weak at right tackle all year, and it showed. B+

Secondary

The Ravens gave up 283 passing yards to a team that lacked its best receivers in A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard. Cornerback Tavon Young is aggressive, but he got away with several pass-interference calls. That won't happen on the road. Safety Eric Weddle needs to tackle tight ends more aggressively. D

Special teams

Justin Tucker converted four field goals, three for more than 50 yards, so he might build a statue of himself at the team's training facility. Sam Koch averaged 44.4 yards per punt, including a long of 63 yards. Devin Hester Sr. finally had an impact as a returner. A-

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Coaching

Coach John Harbaugh made a crucial challenge and won in the first half. The Ravens became too conservative offensively in the second half, but the no-huddle, up-tempo offense works for Flacco. The Ravens had a lot of different looks for quarterback Andy Dalton, but they seemed to tire in the second half. C+

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