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Ravens report card vs. Bengals

Grading the Baltimore Ravens in their 20-17 overtime win against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Quarterback: After Joe Flacco bought time before throwing his first touchdown, it was a shaky performance for most of the way. He would've been picked off four times if the Bengals defenders could catch. His first interception was a case of him doing too much. When you're wrapped up, you need to just take the sack and, to his credit, Flacco didn't make that mistake again this game. His fumble, when he got stripped while trying to throw the ball, showed a lack of pocket awareness. Despite the struggles, Flacco did make the two short passes in overtime to get in range for the winning field goal. Grade: C-minus.

Running backs: Just like he has all season, Ray Rice struggled to run the ball and break tackles in the open field. He averaged 1.7 yards per carry (30 yards on 18 attempts) and managed 4.3 yards per reception (26 yards on team-high six catches). His longest run was five yards and, as fantasy owners know, he failed to score a touchdown on two red-zone carries. Bernard Pierce ran harder than he's had this season, although the effort only produced 31 yards on eight carries (3.9-yard average). The longest run of 18 yards was from backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who took a pitch after lining up in the slot. Grade: D.

Wide receivers/tight ends: The Ravens did what they should do all season -- get the ball to Torrey Smith. He only totaled 46 yards, but Flacco targeted him 14 times. Smith made a leaping grab for a seven-yard touchdown, which proved he has no fear in going over the middle. The tight ends came up big at critical times. Ed Dickson's eight-yard catch put the Ravens in field-goal range in overtime, and Dallas Clark's only catch was a one-yard touchdown. Wide receiver Jacoby Jones drew a 48-yard pass interference penalty after getting behind the defense on a flea flicker, setting up that Clark score. The other receivers were nonexistent. Grade: C-plus.

Offensive line: It's easy to access the line's play when you see the Ravens' running backs averaged 2.8 yards per carry and Flacco got sacked five times. The line is getting beat physically in run blocking. In pass protection, there are too many lapses in communication. A Bengals defender had a free run at Flacco by coming up the middle after left guard A.Q. Shipley and center Gino Gradkowski failed to pick him up. Right tackle Michael Oher struggled against Carlos Dunlap and allowed too much penetration on that forced fumble of Flacco. Left tackle Eugene Monroe was the team's best lineman for a second straight week. Right guard Marshal Yanda does get style points for hoisting up Torrey Smith after his touchdown. Grade: D.

Defensive line: Haloti Ngata must have been hearing the criticism because he delivered his best game in recent memory. He was a force inside and slammed shifty running back Giovani Bernard to the ground in the first quarter when there was a lot of space on the left side. Even after he injured his left knee, Ngata made an impact and finished with five tackles and one batted down pass. Arthur Jones sacked Andy Dalton in the red zone, which held the Bengals to a field goal on the opening drive in the third quarter. Chris Canty added a quarterback hit. Grade: B.

Linebackers: It's been a hot-and-cold season for Elvis Dumervil, who led the team with 2.5 sacks after disappearing in Cleveland. He made his presence known Sunday with three quarterback hits, two tackles behind the line and one batted down pass. In the fourth quarter, Dumervil had 1.5 sacks. Inside linebacker Daryl Smith did his best in trying to limit Bernard and stopped him short of the first down in the opening drive. Terrell Suggs had a quiet day with no sacks or quarterback hits. Grade: B.

Secondary: This was the secondary's most aggressive effort of the season, and it came against a talented group of Bengals receivers. Cornerback Lardarius Webb ripped the ball away from receiver Marvin Jones for an interception and caused havoc on his repeated blitzes. Jimmy Smith stripped Mohamed Sanu to break up another pass. The star of the defensive backfield was James Ihedigbo, who had his first two career interceptions and helped stop Bernard on fourth down in overtime. What kept this from being an 'A' game was the "bone-head" play by Ihedigbo on the Hail Mary touchdown that sent the game to overtime. Grade: B-plus.

Special teams: Justin Tucker won the game with a 46-yard kick in overtime, but don't forget about him making a 36-yarder into the swirling wind earlier in the game. He's automatic these days. Sam Koch had a more consistent effort with three punts inside the 20-yard line and a 55-yarder that helped change field position. Returners Tandon Doss and Jacoby Jones were non-factors. Grade: B-plus.