Cincinnati Bengals grades against the Baltimore Ravens

Andy Lyons

Grading the Cincinnati Bengals performances against the Baltimore Ravens, breaking it down by position.

QUARTERBACK: Andy Dalton was clearly in aggressive-mode against the Ravens, taking several down-field shots but also making high-risk throws that led to interceptions; though all four were hardly his fault. Still, Dalton contributed with three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) and broke two single-season records (yards rushing and touchdowns). Cincinnati can't issue so many turnovers on offense during the playoffs, but on this day against the defending Super Bowl champions, it wasn't really a factor in the end.

Grade: C

RUNNING BACK: In one of the few games this year, BenJarvus Green-Ellis was the better runner on Sunday with an average 6.0 yard/rush on 11 attempts. Giovani Bernard only averaged 1.7 yard/rush but had an outstanding screen that caused several Ravens defenders to wake in a cold sweat Monday morning. Both running backs scored positive pass blocking scores, according to Pro Football Focus.

Grade: B-

WIDE RECEIVER: A.J. Green posted a 53-yard touchdown reception, eliminating two significant mistakes by the offense during their first two possessions. However, three of Dalton's interceptions were throws that targeted Green, who also had a drop. Marvin Jones had the best afternoon, posting five receptions, all of which went for a first down or touchdown (and that touchdown was a ridiculous haul). However, Dalton's first interception could be argued as being Jones' fault, who failed to make an amazing reception and allowed the deflected pass to be intercepted. We won't hold it against either player that much. Andrew Hawkins led the team with 74 yards receiving.

Grade: B

TIGHT ENDS: This is unfair. The Bengals didn't have starting tight ends Jermaine Gresham or Tyler Eifert, and they were forced to promote Orson Charles into the backup tight end role with several snaps at H-Back. Additionally, Alex Smith departed with a dislocated wrist -- an injury that will end his season. Smith also had a fumble that Andrew Whitworth recovered and Charles was neutral on the blocking grades. The only reason I'm not assigning an "F" is because Dennis Roland played some tight end and scored well as a blocker (and I feel guilty).

Grade: D-

OFFENSIVE LINE: Andrew Whitworth, Anthony Collins and Kyle Cook were pulled from the game with various injuries; though Collins, who rotated in and out, returned for good midway through the fourth. Trevor Robinson replaced Cook, who only played eight offensive snaps (two runs) and scored the worst grade for the offensive line in pass blocking (-1.6) with a team-high four hurries allowed and run blocking (-1.5). At the end of the day, with all of the rotation going on with the offensive line, Andy Dalton still wasn't stacked and only felt nine pressures on 37 drop backs. And BenJarvus Green-Ellis had significant lanes for a six-yard per rush average.

Grade: B

DEFENSIVE LINE: Carlos Dunlap (6), Wallace Gilberry (3), Domata Peko (2), and Margus Hunt (2) led the team in quarterback pressures while Michael Johnson and Margus Hunt recording a shared sack. Joe Flacco was under distress most of the game, often walking gingerly to the sidelines during failed offensive possessions. The run defense wasn't as good with Carlos Dunlap (-1.1) and Brandon Thompson (-2.8) scoring the worst run defense scores and Domata Peko also recording a negative score.

Grade: B-

LINEBACKERS: Vontaze Burfict led the Bengals with 316 tackles and Rey Maualuga scored the best grade against the run. James Harrison didn't do much of anything and Burfict allowed 10 receptions in pass defense (though most of it in garbage time).

Grade: C+

SECONDARY: Adam Jones was as shut-down as someone could be, allowing only one reception. Unfortunately he was faulted for Marlon Brown's touchdown reception. Dre Kirkpatrick scored two interceptions, including a pick-six and a team-high three passes defensed. He allowed five completions. Chris Crocker added another interception and a quarterback sack while Reggie Nelson was solid in coverage. At the end of the day, George Iloka scored the best pass coverage score and nearly recorded an interception in the first quarter.

Grade: B+

SPECIAL TEAMS: Shawn Powell had an epic ten-yard punt that landed in the lap of a season-ticket holder, eventually leading to a Ravens field goal. However, his two other punts landed inside the opposing 20-yard line. Brandon Tate was solid in kickoff returns. But the most impressive production from this unit came from the coverage team, essentially making Jacoby Jones a non-factor.

Grade: B

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