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ExtremeRavens: The Sanctuary

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quaterback C-

Joe Flacco has become a slow starter. He threw mostly short and underneath passes, and rarely challenged the Bengals with the long ball. He had opportunities but missed Mark Clayton down the left sideline late in the fourth quarter for a possible touchdown that would have sealed the game.


Running backs: C


The three-headed monster has become a one-headed monster. Ray Rice played well and his 48-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter was sensational. But Willis McGahee and Le'Ron McClain were non-factors. Were they even in the game plan?


Offensive line: C+


The Ravens did a decent job running the ball and the offensive line played reasonably well for a makeshift group. But the Ravens allowed too much pressure, and gave way too much ground on initial pops as far as pass protection.


Receivers: C-


Did they play in this game? The passing game was completely out of whack, and the Ravens didn't challenge the Bengals downfield. It was screens and passes in the flats for the Ravens all afternoon.


Defensive line: D+


Backup defensive tackle Dwan Edwards got a lot of pressure on Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer even though he played only part time. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata started out strong, but faded down the stretch. The Ravens need to get more quarterback pressure from this group, especially some players who can collapse the pocket.


Linebackers: C


Middle linebacker Ray Lewis led the Ravens in tackles with ten, but outside linebacker Jarret Johnson was outstanding with six tackles and several quarterback hurries. The Ravens have to get more out of the other outside linebackers, especially as far as pass rush.


Secondary: D


Oh my. Safety Ed Reed played his best game of the 2009 season, but it goes downhill from there. The corners can't cover, and when they do, they usually draw penalties. It might be time to work the rookie Lardarius Webb into the lineup because some of the veterans aren't getting the job done.


Special teams: C+


Webb has become the top return specialist, and should have been returning the last kickoff for the Ravens instead of Chris Carr. Punter Sam Koch had a big day for the Ravens and the coverage units, for the most part, played well. Tavares Gooden and Tom Zbikowski each had two tackles for the Ravens.

Copyright © 2009, The Baltimore Sun


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