Halfback Ray Rice ran 16 times for 87 yards, but he touched the ball only 8 times per half. When Flacco is having a bad day, Rice, Willis McGahee and Le'Ron McClain need to carry the load. Rice was the Ravens' offense.
This group is good when the Ravens run the ball and use a lot of play action. But once they get behind and become predictable, a lot of weaknesses are exposed. The Ravens gained a lot of yards on the left side, but the right side has to do a better job on running plays. Flacco was hurried eight different times.
Anquan Boldin had five catches for 35 yards, and tight end Todd Heap had four for 35 yards, but there was little separation by the receivers. The Ravens didn't challenge the Bengals much down the field, and were content to stay to the outside, which did result in a Derrick Mason's 31-yard touchdown reception. T.J. Houshmandzadeh dropped three passes.
Tackle Haloti Ngata was excellent, and finished with eight tackles, second best on the team. Tackle Kelly Gregg also had a strong game in run defense with five tackles. Both ends, Trevor Pryce and Cory Redding, turned in solid games: Grade: A.
Because of turnovers, the Ravens were put in some bad positions, but this group still dominated. Ray Lewis had 10 tackles and Terrell Suggs had four and several hurries. Jarret Johnson was strong against the run.
This group played well against one of the better receiving corps in the NFL. If Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer had been a bit more accurate, the Bengals could have done some damage. But cornerbacks Chris Carr and Fabian Washington played well, and safety Dawan Landry played a good center field.
Kicker Billy Cundiff got great distance on his kickoffs, and he also added a 38-yard field goal. Tom Zbikowski was still a little shaky on punt returns, but Jalen Parmele averaged 30.7 yards on three kickoffs. The Ravens, though, gave up a big kickoff return late in the game, which led to a Bengals field goal. Punt coverage was good.
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