Report card: defense/special teams

Report card: defense/special teams
November 11, 2013, 10:30 am
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Dumervil: Ravens stayed composed in overtime

The defense turned in possibly its best performance of the season in Sunday's 20-17 overtime victory over the Bengals -- and it was needed to help an offense still trying to find its way.

DEFENSIVE LINE: B. They often controlled the game and stopped the Bengals with their physical play up front. Haloti Ngata missed some time after hurting his knee but came back and was a true force in the middle. The Bengals simply couldn't run there at all, and the Ravens got good pressure on quarterback Andy Dalton. Arthur Jones also made a lot of plays again and keeps getting better. 

LINEBACKERS: B+. Elvis Dumervil seemed to spend half of the game in the Cincinnati backfield -- if not more. He had 2 1/2 sacks, three tackles overall, and the Bengals couldn't handle him. Daryl Smith bounced back with a nine-tackle performance and was all over the field. They did a better job overall of making plays when they had chances to do so, which supported the defensive line. 

SECONDARY: A. This group turned in an outstanding performance in so many ways. Three interceptions, better tackling, great coverage -- a big reason the defense played so well overall. James Ihedigbo made two picks, nine tackles and helped on the fourth-down tackle in overtime that gave the offense the ball in great position. His deflection of the Hail Mary pass right to Cincinnati WR A.J. Green was really the safety's lone mistake of the day, but he made up for it in overtime. Jimmy Smith, Corey Graham and Lardarius Webb (one pick) were solid in coverage. The secondary's blitzes also caused trouble throughout the game. 

SPECIAL TEAMS: B. Sam Koch punted much better in this game (44.4 yards on eight punts, three inside the 20) after being in a bit of a slump in recent games. They didn't get much on kickoff and punt returns and let the Bengals get some good yardage in those areas. But Justin Tucker came through with a tough game-winning field goal of 46 yards on a very windy afternoon.