Ken Murray's Report Card

November 09, 2009|By KEN MURRAY



Joe Flacco's passing numbers suggest a decent effort, but they're deceptive. His receivers were rarely open downfield; he often threw into coverage. Because receivers couldn't get open, he had 13 completions to backs or tight ends.

Running backs


Ray Rice was relentless, with 135 of the team's 215 total yards. He had eight catches for 87, and 12 runs for 48. But the Bengals bottled him up for the most part, except for a 35-yard catch-and-run. Le'Ron McClain also had a nifty 19-yard catch-and-run.



Derrick Mason caught only three of 13 passes thrown to him. The Bengals have smothered him in both games this season. Same with Mark Clayton. And the receivers didn't come up with any jump balls. Todd Heap worked the middle for three catches.

Offensive line


At times, the line seemed to give Flacco protection. But when it rained, it poured. Three of the four sacks of Flacco came on the final drive. Left tackle Jared Gaither was called for two holding penalties, and right tackle Michael Oher for a false start.

Defensive line


Granted, losing Haloti Ngata was big. Justin Bannan played hard, getting in on four tackles. But the Bengals got another 100-yard rushing game from Cedric Benson. Equally bad, the Ravens never got any kind of pass rush against Carson Palmer.



Benson made the most of the many missed tackles to get his 117 yards. He had runs of 21, 15 and 12 yards. It appeared the Ravens failed to maintain gap integrity again. Holes sprung up everywhere. The Bengals finished with 146 rushing yards.



If Ed Reed can't shoulder tackle, maybe he shouldn't be there. Fabian Washington was guilty of pass interference on a big fourth-down play. Dawan Landry was flagged for pass interference, and Chris Carr for illegal contact.

Special teams


Steve Hauschka missed a critical 38-yard field-goal attempt in the fourth quarter. He has missed his two biggest kicks this season wide left. That's ominous. Lardarius Webb averaged 21.3 yards on kick returns, but Carr didn't impress on punt returns.

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