The Baltimore Ravens exit Paycor Stadium with a 27-24 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. They leave 2-0 and put the Bengals down at the bottom of the division with a 0-2 record. Here are the winners and losers from today’s game.
Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken — Called a masterful first drive to open the game. He put the game into manageable situations for third downs and kept the Bengals’ pass rushers from being able to exploit the backup offensive linemen. He blended it in with deep shots and gashing runs.
Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald — Going against a Bengals squad looking to right the ship and seeing the Ravens down their two best players in the secondary had the makings of a disaster. Instead, Macdonald’s defense stood strong and allowed 14 yards in the first half. The Bengals offense had only 17 plays in the first half. Things became challenging in the second half but there were no significant breakdowns. No breakdowns in coverage allowing the Bengals’ stars to get loose for easy scores. Instead, they kept everything in front of them and made enough plays to win.
Offensive Line — A couple holds were lackluster but I don’t think a soul had this game ending with zero sacks and 178 rushing yards. The Ravens were down Ronnie Stanley and Tyler Linderbaum. Could you tell? Neither of them were on the receiving end of a beating that was all but expected heading into this game.
Head Coach John Harbaugh — Mark Andrews wanted to go for it on fourth down and put away the Bengals. Instead of rolling the dice, Harbaugh brought removed his offense from the field and let Justin Tucker knock down a field goal which was the difference in this game. This was a game to get his troops rallied and you could tell how much it meant to win that one when the cameras panned to him on the sideline at the conclusion.
Lamar Jackson — Slicing up the Bengals defense for 230 yards and two touchdowns helped lead the charge. Two big shots were enormous for the Ravens as he found Zay Flowers downfield for 52 yards and then the touchdown completion to Nelson Agholor. He kept the drives alive with his legs and delivered key strikes on third downs.
Geno Stone — Being called into action due to the loss of safety Marcus Williams was a tall order. Not only did Stone answer with solid play, he delivered a red zone interception on Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, which turned into a touchdown going the other way.
Nelson Agholor — In a game filled with bigger names at wide receiver, Agholor just goes to work. His touchdown in the red zone was reminiscent of the many he put up against the Ravens’ defense in training camp that was being praised throughout the offseason.
Gus Edwards — At times the Ravens needed an AFC North hammer to strike home and move the chains. Consistently, Edwards was fed the rock and he moved the chains. He also found the end zone for the Ravens’ first touchdown of the game.
Mark Andrews — It’s good to have Andrews back as he secured multiple third down grabs and found the end zone for Jackson’s first touchdown completion of the season. Which, is no surprise.
Rock Ya-Sin — Covering Ja’Marr Chase is a nightmare for defensive backs but here the free agent is, breaking up a back shoulder ball to Chase in the end zone, forcing a field goal.
Jadeveon Clowney — After just missing a sack against the Texans, Clowney found his mark against Burrow for his first of the season. Free agents really shined for the Ravens today.
Zay Flowers — Any time he has the ball in his hands there’s a play being made. He shakes and jukes defenders and then flexes on them after a deep shot reception. What a play.
Special Teams — An off day for the Ravens as Tucker missed (it was from 59 yards) and allowing an 81 yard punt return for a touchdown. The officiating was a bit suspect on the picked-up flag there but it will go down as a touchdown and will be something for Special Teams Coordinator Chris Horton to go over with his unit in due time.
Justin Madubuike — Two personal foul penalties in the red zone in two games. You could see the disappointment on Harbaugh’s face after today’s penalty. It’s giving the opponent’s life and on a bad side of the field, too.
Ar’Darius Washington — Burrow began to hone in on Washington with his touchdown to Tee Higgins. Then, he was the defender on the 4th & 4 play that was extended by Higgins.