A week wasn't enough for Marvin Lewis to completely turn around the defense, but the Cincinnati Bengals at least saw a little improvement in a 24-21 loss at Baltimore on Sunday.
They didn’t give up 500 yards and 50 points, so that’s a start, right? Just not enough to avoid a loss in an important AFC North game.
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Cincinnati (5-5) struggled against the run, and the offense was only somewhat helpful in keeping the defense off the field at times. As a result, the Bengals dropped out of the playoff picture as the Ravens took their place as the sixth seed. Now the Bengals return home to face the Browns on Sunday, trying to avoid a fifth loss in six games.
Here is a look at the Week 11 report card grades:
The Good: Joe Mixon had a 1-yard touchdown run to get the Bengals on the board in the second quarter, but that was about all he did for the ground game.
The Bad: Mixon had his worst performance of the season with just 12 carries for 14 yards, averaging 1.2 yards per carry. He had two rushes for losses, one for no gain and his longest run was for four yards. The Bengals had 48 yards rushing total, and 29 of that was from Dalton, who had a 20-yard scamper.
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Key Play: With the game tied at 21 late in the third quarter, Mixon ran for minus-2 yards on second-and-10 and the Bengals ended up punting. The Ravens had good field position and got the game-winning field goal the next drive. The same happened on the next Cincinnati drive, and the Bengals had to try a 52-yard field goal, which Randy Bullock missed.
The Good: John Ross caught a contested pass for a 22-yard touchdown to give Cincinnati a 21-13 lead in the third quarter, and Tyler Boyd had four catches for 71 yards, including a 32-yard grab on a third-and-12 in the fourth quarter.
The Bad: Dalton was inconsistent as he completed 19 of 36 passes for 211 yards and one touchdown, as he was without his best option for a second straight game with A.J. Green still out with a toe injury. Dalton targeted Boyd 11 times and Ross seven times and the two combined for six catches. Cody Core was the target on two big plays late in each half and couldn’t come up with a catch.
Key Play: On fourth-and-3 with 1:46 left, Dalton threw a short pass to Core, which he dropped to end the game. The Ravens ran out the clock for the win.
The Good: The longest run Cincinnati gave up was 21 yards, but most of the carries were for six yards or less. Vinny Rey stopped Lamar Jackson on a fourth-and-1 in the third quarter, which set up a scoring drive to allow the Bengals to take a 21-13 lead.
The Bad: The Bengals gave up 265 yards rushing on 54 carries, including 117 yards to Jackson and 115 yards to Gus Edwards. The Ravens didn’t have to rely on the passing game and were able to eat up a lot of clock. Vontaze Burfict struggled with missed tackles in his return from a hip injury.
Key Play: On a third-and-5 play in the third quarter, Edwards ran for 15 yards to extend a drive, which ended with a 24-yard field goal for Justin Tucker for the final points.
The Good: The Ravens finished with just 150 yards passing, and Shawn Williams came up with his fourth interception of the season.
The Bad: Jackson didn’t need to rely on the pass but when he did, he was pretty efficient, completing 13 of 19 passes in his first NFL start.
Key Play: On second-and-6 from the Ravens’ 39-yard line, Jackson completed a 23-yard pass to John Brown to put the Ravens in range for their second field goal in the final two minutes of the second quarter for a 13-7 lead.
The Good: Kevin Huber continues to be consistent with his punts, averaging 41.8 yards on six attempts. He had one inside the 20 and a long of 53.
The Bad: Penalties were a problem on special teams. Clayton Fejedelem was called for an illegal block on a 49-yard punt return by Alex Erickson, and Jordan Franks also was called for the same thing on another return. Brandon Wilson was called for an illegal block on a punt, and Malik Jefferson had a hold on a punt as well.
Key Play: Bullock missed a 52-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, which would have tied the game and likely sent it to overtime.
The Good: The defense showed some improvement in Lewis’ first game as defensive coordinator. Bill Lazor threw in a gadget play, where Tyler Boyd attempted a pass and although it didn’t work out, it shows some creativity in trying to get something going.
The Bad: Lewis apparently had trouble communicating with Hardy Nickerson on the first drive, as Nickerson wasn’t getting the calls because Lewis wasn’t pushing the button correctly to send them.
Key Play: The Bengals essentially had two avoidable delay of game penalties. One at the end of the game was avoided by a timeout and another one resulted in a false start. Both times, Dalton didn’t seem to realize the 25-second clock was running down.
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