The Ravens dominated in nearly every phase of the game on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in a 27-3 win over the Bengals.
The defense, from top to bottom, was outstanding. Justin Tucker’s lone blemish kicking was a 61-yard miss, his first miss of the season. But the offense left something to be desired.
Here’s whose stocks are up and down after the Ravens’ 24-point win:
Stock up: Wink Martindale
Coach John Harbaugh gave credit to Martindale after the game, but he deserves praise here too.
Martindale, the Ravens’ defensive coordinator, schemed up blitz after blitz that confused the Bengals’ offensive line and their rookie quarterback, Joe Burrow, as they hit him on a staggering 15 of his dropbacks.
In a nod to how successful their blitzes were, Martindale’s unit had five defensive backs (Chuck Clark, Marlon Humphrey, DeShon Elliott, Marcus Peters and Jimmy Smith) reach Burrow for a sack. Peters’ interception in the first quarter came off a blitz, where Clark got right into Burrow’s face.
Martindale and the Ravens knew they’d have to pressure and confuse the first overall pick, and they certainly did.
Stock up: Patrick Queen
Queen had his best performance as a professional against his former LSU teammate in Burrow, as he made nine tackles (tied for a game-high), had a sack and a touchdown to put an exclamation point on the game in the fourth quarter.
Harbaugh complimented Queen’s day in coverage, an area Harbaugh said his rookie linebacker needed to improve upon. Through five games, Queen has come along more and more.
At the center of the Ravens’ outburst defensively was their first-round rookie, a player they need to be a difference-maker.
Stock up: Mark Ingram
Ingram had, statistically, his best game as a Raven this season with 57 yards on 11 carries. He didn’t reach the end zone but saw the lion share of backfield touches as Gus Edwards followed with seven and J.K. Dobbins with just one.
He ran for 5.2 yards-per-carry, including a 20-yard long, as he’ll look to solidify himself in the coming weeks as the back where, if the Ravens need a big-time series from a running back, he’ll be it.
Stock down: Lamar Jackson and the offense
It’s unfair to single out the entire offense as well as Jackson, acting as if they’re separate entities.
Jackson threw for 180 yards on 19-of-37 passing with two touchdowns and an interception, though his day wasn’t sharp at all. He looked visibly frustrated at times, both after his interception and after stalled drives. Were it for a few more plays from the Bengals’ defense, he could’ve thrown more than the one interception.
As a whole, the offense scored 20 points on an afternoon where it seemed it could do much better — a theme of the young season so far. Tight end Mark Andrews, who scored a touchdown on one of his six receptions, made the point clear they’ve got room to improve.
But a worrying trend for the Ravens is that, outside of Andrews and wide receiver Marquise Brown, they don’t seem to have a sturdy third option in the pass game.
Miles Boykin and Willie Snead were held off the scoresheet, as all five targets to both of them fell to the ground incomplete. The Ravens’ offense, through five games, isn’t where it was a year ago.
Stock up: The front seven
With credit already given to Martindale, the Ravens’ front seven did its job on Sunday too.
They got after Burrow time and time again in their best performance of the season in, admittedly, a game they should’ve stood out in.
They’ll have work to do against better offensive lines in the future, but Sunday was a promising afternoon.
Stock up: The playoff chase
The Ravens are seemingly a lock for the playoffs. But they’ll need every win they can stack early in the season.
With the Steelers at 4-0, and the Browns at 4-1, the AFC North is proving to be, at the very least, the most competitive division in football. Meaning for the 4-1 Ravens, it’s important to stack as many wins as possible before the schedule hits its hardest in November.
As the schedule heads down the wire, setting yourself up with as many wins as possible is becoming more and more important, especially this year. The Ravens, through five games, have done exactly that.