The Baltimore Ravens are beginning the 2023 season with a 2-0 record after holding control in a divisional matchup in Cincinnati. Here are grades for each position group from the 27-24 victory over the Bengals.
This was one of the most complete performances we’ve ever seen from Lamar Jackson. It might not have been one of his flashiest but he had so much control over the offense from start to finish. From playing with rhythm and timing to changing plays at the line, he was in the driver's seat the entire time.
Running Backs: A-
After a so-so day last week and now missing J.K. Dobbins, the running backs bounded back in a big way. Gus Edwards and Justice Hill combined for over 100 yards and a score, with both players looking explosive. Edwards in particular looked great, averaging over 6.0 yards a carry and he was dominant in short-yardage situations.
It was a quiet day for Pat Ricard, whose name wasn’t called once during the game. However, with as well as the offensive line played, Ricard probably had a hand in it.
Wide Receiver: A
It was another fantastic day for the wide receivers, something that could become familiar in Baltimore quickly. Nelson Agholor introduced himself to the division with five catches for 63 yards and a score. Zay Flowers had a massive 52-yard catch and even Odell Beckham Jr., who missed a majority of the game, had three early catches and pulled a savvy veteran move to get drive-saving penalty.
Tight Ends: B-
It wasn’t a massive day for the tight ends but a good improvement from Week 1. Mark Andrews fell right back into rhythm with Jackson in his season debut as the quarterback’s safety valve. He finished with five catches, 45 receiving yards, and a touchdown.
Offensive Line: A
What a bounce-back day from the offensive line. A week ago, Jackson had little time to throw and was under regular pressure. In Week 2, he went through a majority of his plays freely with all the time needed, which contributed to how comfortable he looked. The line also created plenty of holes for the running backs to break through and dominated with Edwards in the short-yardage game.
Defensive Line: C+
It was a dormant day for the defensive line, who didn’t have much attention. They once again held the opposing offense to under 100 yards rushing and Travis Jones looked to shed blocks regularly.
Outside Linebackers: C+
The edge group to continues to quiet preseason worries about the position with another solid performance. Oweh again looked primed to be a force but went down with injury. Not before beating the right tackle twice in row with a bull rush and then a spin move, however.
The sacks and pressures were quiet as the Bengals made the conscious choice to switch to a quick pass game in the second half. Jadeveon Clowney had himself a day with a sack, a tackle for loss, and an impressive day setting the edge.
Inside Linebackers: B
It was a bit of a regression to the mean for the linebackers but they were still dominant, with Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen combining for double-digit tackles. While Smith had the attention last week, breaking a franchise record, it was Queen who led the group today, shutting down passing lanes and chasing down multiple plays on the sideline.
It wasn’t a spectacular day for the corners, but they got the job done without their star Marlon Humphrey against arguably the best wide receiver core in the league. They let nothing get behind them and tackled well, limiting extra yards in a short-game passing scheme. Rock Ya-Sin had the play of the day, ripping a would-be touchdown out of Ja’Marr Chase's hands in the end zone.
You know you’re a darn good kicker when missing a 59-yarder is considered a disappointment. Outside of that, it was a typical day for Tucker, nailing his other two field goals and all three extra points.
After last week’s All-Pro showing due to the offensive struggles, it was a quieter day for Jordan Stout. He still boomed absolute moon balls, averaging almost 60 yards a punt at 58.5 over his two punts and a long of 63.