Report card

December 22, 1997

Running backs

Bam Morris didn't seem to have much acceleration on runs or after receptions. With only 22 yards on 13 carries, he had very little impact. -- C-

Quarterback

Eric Zeier's inexperience cost him early when the Bengals were playing head games with him. He was more consistent in the second half, but good teams will bury slow starters in this league. -- C

Receivers

The group made some costly drops but played well overall. Michael Jackson had seven receptions for 94 yards despite a shoulder injury. Derrick Alexander (five, 111) made a big gainer out of nothing and tight end Eric Green (seven, 62) ran well after several receptions. -- C+

Offensive linemen

The Ravens had only 51 yards rushing, were called for holding four times and allowed Zeier to be sacked seven times. Plus, the line failed again in several short-yardage situations, most notably the fourth-and-inches at the Bengals' 22 in the third quarter. -- D

Defensive linemen

The unit played well without two starters, end Rob Burnett and tackle Tony Siragusa. End Michael McCrary finished the season with a strong performance. -- B

Linebackers

Middle linebacker Ray Lewis owned the Bengals' running game and strong-side linebacker Peter Boulware moved Boomer Esiason several times during pass plays. -- B

Defensive backs

This group hustles and has a bright future, but inexperience cost it several times. Rookie safeties Kim Herring and Ralph Staten are aggressive on the run, but sometimes too aggressive. -- C+

Special teams

Greg Montgomery averaged 47.0 yards a punt, but the kickoff team allowed a 45-yard return by Eric Bieniemy, and Matt Stover missed 44-yard field-goal attempt. -- C

Pub Date: 12/22/97

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