Bengals vs. Ravens Grades

Rob Carr

Taking a look at a position-by-position breakdown on Cincinnati's performance against the Baltimore Ravens.

Quarterback: Like last week, I'd argue that while Andy Dalton wasn't "horrific", he hasn't been very inspiring. In as much as people like to focus on one player in a team-based game, the products around Dalton (not named A.J. Green) aren't playing up to standard from the protection schemes to the receivers. He was responsible for at least two interceptions and other inaccurate throws against the Ravens, which was a continuation from last week against the Dolphins. In the past two games, Dalton has attempted 104 passes, which according to offensive coordinator Jay Gruden, makes sense.

Grade: C-

Running Backs: Prior to his 11-yard loss on fourth down in overtime, Giovani Bernard generated 106 yards from scrimmage, including an 18-yard touchdown reception on a screen. However, thanks to the blocking and quality pass defense by the Ravens, Bernard was stoned on third and short in overtime, leading to an eventual 11-yard loss on fourth down while trying to do too much. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was actually productive, averaging four yards per rush but only had nine carries.

Grade: C+

Wide Receivers: For the fifth straight game, A.J. Green surpassed the 100-yard milestone, breaking Carl Pickens' franchise record in 1994. Additionally, Green has six 100-yard receiving games this season. That being said, Marvin Jones was targeted seven times and caught one pass for two yards. Mohamed Sanu was targeted eight times and caught three passes for 26 yards. Obviously those missed passes aren't entirely their fault, but how does Jones have the football striped away from him for an interception?

Grade: B+ (all A.J. Green)

Tight Ends: Tyler Eifert had an amazing 40-yard reception, of which most was after the reception. Once he secured the pass near the right sidelines, Eifert tip-toed near the white markers and then took off. On the other hand, his inability to block Terrell Suggs was a huge reason that Bernard was stuffed on third and two just prior to Cincinnati's turnover on downs in overtime. Eifert also had a couple of drops.

Grade: C+

Offensive Line: Cincinnati's running game wasn't bad, generating a 120 yards and 3.9 yard/rush (which wasn't helped when Andrew Hawkins dropped a handoff for a three-yard loss). Had the play-calling been a little more balanced, instead of grouping a series of runs together in spurts, it would have been a significant contributor. The pass protection was dreadful for a second week though. It seemed as if Dalton was under fire all afternoon, especially in the second half where Baltimore recorded all five of their quarterback sacks.

Grade: D

Defensive Line: Michael Johnson finished third on the team with seven tackles and Carlos Dunlap added two sacks, a forced fumble. Both were contributors on Vincent Rey's interception with one dragging Joe Flacco down while the other bumped into the quarterback's throwing motion. The fact of the matter is (Stephen A. Smith voice), at no point in time during the game did you think, "I miss Geno Atkins".

Grade: B+

Linebacker: Vincent Rey was a stud. However else can you define the Bengals linebacker who led the team in tackles (13), sacks (3), tackles for loss (3), quarterback hits (3), passes defensed (3), and interceptions (1). We'll give linebackers an A just based on his performance alone. Vontaze Burfict finished with 12 tackles, but that's expected anymore.

Grade: A

Secondary: There were a handful of deep throws where the Ravens receivers had beaten the Bengals secondary, but wind-induced throws rendered those defeats harmless. Terence Newman's fourth quarter interception led Cincinnati's first touchdown with 8:30 remaining in the game. On the other hand, Cincinnati had their hands on as many as four picks, but two were dropped (one by Chris Crocker, the other by linebacker Vontaze Burfict).

Grade: B+

Special Teams: Considering that Mike Nugent pushed a 42-yard attempt wide left, had the remainder of the game played out exactly as it did, A.J. Green's 51-yard touchdown as time expired would have been a game-winner. Kevin Huber had an awful outing, but we'll accept that the wind had a significant impact. Still, he averaged 37.2 yards/punt, including two below 30 yards. The 16-yarder with 3:09 remaining in the third quarter was especially troublesome, considering he had the wind against his back. The defense, as they've done for everyone this year, bailed him out.

Grade: D

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