Report Card

Ravens Gameday

Ravens 23, Bengals 9

September 27, 2004|By Mike Preston

Quarterback: The Boy Quarterback, Kyle Boller, almost turned into Boy Blunder with two fumbles. He was sufficient for most of the game and gained some yards with runs out of the pocket. He needs to work on securing the football and learning how to slide at appropriate times. -- GRADE: C

Running backs: Fullback Alan Ricard doesn't get a lot of notice, but he helped open some huge holes on the left side on the Ravens' stretch plays. Halfback Jamal Lewis has played well and hard all season. Forget the distraction garbage. If there is a hole, he gets through it. -- GRADE: A

Receivers: Are there any on this team? Randy Hymes (four catches, 61 yards) played well filling in for Travis Taylor, who might be the reserve when he gets healthy. The Ravens like to play it safe with the short passes and the running game. The receivers and tight ends did a nice job of blocking on Lewis' downfield runs. -- GRADE: C

Offensive line: The Ravens took advantage of their size by "sweep blocking" on the backside, allowing Lewis to cut back. Center Casey Rabach and left guard Edwin Mulitalo were extremely successful getting to linebackers. -- GRADE: A

Defensive line: They might be undersized and underrated, but they play hard. Nose tackle Maake Kemoeatu kept the offensive linemen off the linebackers. Ends Tony Weaver and Marques Douglas were too quick for the Bengals, and actually beat them off the ball on a few snap counts. -- GRADE: B+

Linebackers: Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs might end up with 20 sacks, and hopefully he'll cut down on the dancing or at least take some lessons. When the Bengals did get to inside linebackers Ray Lewis and Ed Hartwell, they pushed them around. Lewis missed at least three tackles. Outside linebacker Adalius Thomas is developing into an outstanding pass rusher. -- GRADE: B

Secondary: Palmer found some holes in the middle of the Ravens' secondary. Chad Johnson had eight receptions for 99 yards, but his numbers are high because the Bengals passed 52 times. Cornerback Gary Baxter had tight coverage, especially early in the game, and safety Ed Reed had two interceptions. But this group still isn't close to its potential. -- GRADE: C+

Special teams: Dave Zastudil landed three of six punts inside the 20-yard line, which is a good day. The Ravens had decent coverage units most of the game, paced by Chester Taylor, who had three tackles and zero penalties for blocking in the back. Return specialist B.J. Sams returned a punt 63 yards, but he also fumbled twice, which is starting to make some people nervous. -- GRADE: C+

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