Mike Preston's Report Card

Ravens Gameday

Bengals 42 Ravens 29

November 28, 2005|By MIKE PRESTON

Quarterback

D

Kyle Boller should play better in the coming weeks with Houston, Green Bay and Cleveland on the schedule, but he's not the answer. Are we clear on that? He isn't mechanically sound and doesn't have a strong enough arm to overcome that problem the way Brett Favre can.

Running back

B

Jamal Lewis proved his point. He got more than 20 carries and ran for more than 100 yards. The only problem is that it came against the Bengals. If that happens vs. Pittsburgh or Chicago, then we might be on to something. To his credit, Lewis ran well, but the Ravens played poorly.

Offensive line

C

Despite falling behind early in the game, the Ravens had decent pass protection in the second half. Again, the left side of the offensive line dominated at times on running plays, but the Ravens couldn't get much running to the right side. No running team should be so one-sided.

Receivers

C

Hey, the Ravens really do have receivers. Derrick Mason had three catches for 58 yards, including one for a 28-yard touchdown. Mark Clayton gets about two passes thrown his way a game, one usually a quick screen. Todd Heap had six catches for 87 yards, including two jump balls for touchdowns.

Defensive line

D

This unit had virtually no presence in the game. Bengals running back Rudi Johnson rushed for 114 yards, and the Ravens had a hard time bringing him down on first contact. Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer had enough time to knit sweaters for Christmas. The Ravens had zero sacks. Nothing. Nada.

Linebackers

D

Middle linebacker Tommy Polley and weakside linebacker Bart Scott combined for 16 tackles, but a lot of those were back off the line of scrimmage. The Bengals did a nice job of cutting off Polley and Scott on the perimeters, and they had no problems handling the Ravens' blitzes.

Secondary

F

Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh should be arrested for arson because of the way they torched the Ravens' secondary. Of course, the Ravens will say they miss safety Ed Reed. But it's apparent this group lacks some talent, and doesn't have a full understanding of all assignments.

Special teams

B

After kicker Matt Stover, kick returner B.J. Sams is the team's best offensive weapon. Sams averaged 18.1 yards on eight kickoffs, returning one for 34 yards. Dave Zastudil averaged 47 yards a punt, including a long of 51 yards. The Ravens need to do a better job on kickoff coverage.

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