Ravens-Bengals: Week Nine Cincinnati Report Card

Russell WightAnalyst INovember 9, 2009

CINCINNATI - NOVEMBER 8: Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium on November 8, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images)
John Sommers II/Getty Images

The Bengals improved to 6-2 yesterday with a 17-7 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

Cincinnati's offense and defense were exceptional in the first half, with the defense continuing its dominance until the final gun.

The Bengals are undefeated in the AFC North with another big division game at Pittsburgh next week.

OFFENSE

Cedric Benson ran for 117 yards on 34 carries, surpassing the 100-yard mark for the second time this year against the Ravens. The last time the Ravens defense allowed an opposing running back to crack the century mark twice in a season was when Ricky Williams did it in 1997.

The Bengals' running attack continues to open up the passing game for Carson Palmer, who completed 20 of 33 for 224 yards. Palmer's ability to recognize coverage gaps at the line of scrimmage and put balls where only the receiver can catch them show he is indeed among the league's elite quarterbacks.

Chad Ochocinco made a couple of great catches and drew a crucial pass interference call in the first half, but he needs to improve his ball security. While trying to gain yards after a reception in the second half, he had the ball stripped by safety Ed Reed.

Grade: B

DEFENSE

The Ravens offense entered the game averaging 28.4 points per game, good enough for fourth in the NFL. They also began the day third in the league when it came to converting third downs at 48.4 percent. Against the Bengals, they couldn't score or convert a third down until the fourth quarter.

The Bengals secondary shut down quarterback Joe Flacco and his receiving corps for the second time this season. Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph each had an interception.

The Ravens could not get anything going on the ground either, gaining just 55 yards.

Grade: A

SPECIAL TEAMS

The kicking game was not that much of a factor. Shayne Graham converted both extra-point opportunities and kicked a 23-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Grade: A

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