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Ravens 38 Bengals 3

Ravens team celebration in Cincinnati
Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens
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Reading Time: 4 minutes

This game was exactly what I was hoping for. I didn’t want a nail-biter, last-play-of-the-game performance from the Ravens. I wanted a full-fledged beat down to finish the winning streak and snag that playoff spot with authority.

Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens did just that. It was a dominating performance and the Ravens will enter the AFC postseason flying high and ready for some revenge.

Offense 

Overall: A

It’s basically impossible to find a blemish, but because we want to leave that A+ for truly flawless performances, the offense checks in at an A today.

The Ravens hung up 400 yards rushing and over 520 yards total on the Bengals. The only negative was a tipped ball INT, and hey…credit Margus Hunt. That was a nice play.

Quarterback: A-

Lamar Jackson had another electrifying performance this week. He had 97 yards on the ground that got him over 1,000 on the season and, while he only had 113 in the air and 10 completions, three of them went for TDs, which is peak Lamar performance.

Lamar had a few off throws today and the pick (which dropped his grade a bit), but he was once again decisive and took easy throws and scrambles to move the ball with precision. Ravens fans have to be feeling good about Lamar’s performance after missing time due to COVID. He’s playing like his 2019 self and the offense is humming again.

We didn’t get to see a whole lot of Tyler Huntley in garbage time, so it’s hard to say a whole lot about his performance.

Running back: A+

Now I will bust out the A+ for a truly special performance from the Ravens running back group. I talked about it last week, but this week just hammers the point home: J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards are just a beastly combination for the Ravens.

They are both thriving in the rotation, which is huge for the coaching staff. Some backs need to get in a rhythm, but they’re showing they can come in and out of the game without losing their momentum.

The Ravens need to run the ball to keep their offense humming and these two (along with Lamar, of course) are getting hot at the right time.

Edwards and Dobbins combined for 220 yards on the ground and two scores. Yeah, I’ll take that.

Wide Receiver and Tight End: B+ 

A couple of drops hurt the overall output, but some big plays by Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin highlighted a nice performance for the Ravens pass catchers. Mark Andrews wasn’t needed, but he drew triple coverage on multiple plays, including the Boykin 43-yard TD, so I’d say he did his job well.

Make no mistake about it: this group is going to be heavily under the microscope as the playoffs come. If the Ravens are in a come-from-behind situation, they’re going to make plays, but credit them for making plays today and finding pay dirty.

Offensive Line: A

Tristan Colon-Castillo drew the start for the Ravens and delivered a strong performance. This has been a theme among the last few report cards. The offense turning things around is heavily linked to the offensive line jelling and turning in strong performances.

There are still questions at RT with D.J. Fluker getting benched for Tyre Phillips today (after Phillips got benched for Fluker a few weeks ago), but they’re still turning in strong performances despite the issue there. A ton of credit goes to Ben Powers and Bradley Bozeman, who are providing excellent run blocking from the guard positions and Orlando Brown Jr. has been a top LT in the league since taking over for Ronnie Stanley.

Defense 

Overall: A-

I saw some negativity on Twitter around the defense. Sure, the Bengals had a couple drives, but keep in mind they had a whopping 195 yards. It’s not the old school Ravens D performances we got accustomed to, but it’s still solid work.

Defensive Line: B

I won’t lie; I expected a lot more from the defensive line in terms of pass rush production. Brandon Allen had the game plan to get the ball out quick and he threw terribly on his route tree, but 0 sacks and only two QB hits is a bit disappointing.

The Bengals picked up some big runs, but overall their run game was stunted, so credit the big boys inside there. If the Ravens see Tennessee next week (likely), this is going to be the group that needs to ball out against that wide zone scheme and Derrick Henry.

Linebackers: A-

Most of the pressure that was applied came from Matt Judon and Tyus Bowser, who had solid games. Bowser, in particular, had a great day against the run, which to my point above, is going to be crucial against the Titans. L.J. Fort and Patrick Queen had solid days inside.

Defensive Backs: A

The DBs have been a regular target of my criticism, as those folks reading week-to-week know. Well, they shut me up this week with a dominant performance that included picks from Marcus Peters and Chuck Clark.

Marlon Humphrey had an outstanding day in coverage with some tight looks on multiple plays. Anthony Averett also played outstanding today. He had two PDs and almost had a beautifully read pick but the ball was just too far in front of him.

The Ravens finished with eight PDs on 21 pass attempts from Allen. Five came from the DB group. Dominant performance.

Special Teams: B

Sam Koch didn’t play today, but Johnny Townsend stepped in well in his absence. Justin Tucker was perfect on the day and Devin Duvernay has an okay day returning.

Overall, not much to report here. Alex Erickson did have a 28-yard return in garbage time, which wasn’t’ ideal and knocked the grade a bit.

Coaching: A

The coaching approach was perfect today. John Harbaugh had the guys ready to not only win, but to dominate the opponent. Greg Roman called a fantastic game on offense and Wink Martindale put the defense in a position to succeed.

Harbaugh gets bonus points for the challenge that got Chuck Clark that pick in the fourth.

Don’t underestimate coaching momentum. Roman is finally getting back to his roots and it’s coming at a perfect time.

Game Ball

I have to split it up into an O ball and a D Ball. On O, I’m going to Dobbins who finally broke off a home run TD with a 72-yarder to the house. He rushed 13 times for 160 yards and two TD. He has all the momentum in the world going into the playoffs.

On D, I have to go to Chuck Clark. He had a sticky day in coverage, pulled in a pick and had two PDs. Mostly, I’m excited for Clark because I’ve been criticizing his play and he shoved that right down my throat. 

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