Baltimore Ravens Grades Week Eight, Cincinnati Bengals Edition

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Oct 26, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Baltimore Ravens defensive end Haloti Ngata (92) knocks the ball away from Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during the fourth quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

 Defense: C

Losing arguably the most important player on the defense, and perhaps the entire team, isn’t a great way to start off your day.  But the Ravens saw yet another injury in their injury filled secondary as Jimmy Smith suffered a sprained ankle on the very first drive of the game.  Things quickly went south in coverage after that.

Dominique Franks, who was signed off the street recently, was forced to take over as Chykie Brown was inactive.  Safety Matt Elam slid over to the slot.  And Mohamed Sanu proceeded to go off for 125 yards receiving.  Making things worse was the poor play of Lardarius Webb (3 receptions, 73 yards) and Terrence Brooks (3 receptions, 72 yards) who teamed up to give up the 53 yard play that ultimately sealed the Raven’s fate.

The Raven’s front seven did their part in shutting down the Bengal’s ground game, allowing a mere 76 yards on 20 carries (2.7 ypc).  Haloti Ngata had a sack and a forced fumble, while Terrell Suggs added another sack.  C.J. Mosley and Daryl Smith teamed up to record 26 tackles while Smith recovered Ngata’s forced fumble.

The front seven that had dominated in the red zone for the last seven weeks had trouble keeping the Bengals out of it, however, giving up three touchdowns on three one yard runs up the middle.  Had they held the Bengals on just one of those occasions, we might be talking about a different situation this morning.

Next: Special Teams