BALTIMORE _ Wide receiver A.J Green didn't get the game day call Sunday, but wide receiver John Ross and running back Joe Mixon did for the Bengals offense on a day all eyes were riveted on head coach Marvin Lewis' defense at M&T Bank Stadium.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (hip) missed the game, leaving it in the hands of either rookie Lamar Jackson making his first NFL start or Robert Griffin III, a seven-year vet that hasn't played since he started the last four games of 2016 for new Bengals assistant coach Hue Jackson in Cleveland.
As expected in his first game in his dual role Lewis didn't get much help from his own inactive list, where he put starting middle linebacker Preston Brown and starting SAM linebacker Nick Vigil with knee injuries, but WILLL backer Vontaze Burfict (hip) survived the pre-game scrutiny to make his first start since Oct. 21 after being limited all week and marked as questionable.
He also got back slot corner Darqueze Dennard (neck) for the first time since Oct. 14.
Green, who watched pre-game warmups, hasn't worked since the Oct. 28 win over Tampa but he did get back on the rehab field last week and was slated as doubtful. Ross (groin) was targeted as questionable after being limited most of the week, but wide receiver Josh Malone (hamstring) was out for the second straight week as rookie Auden Tate looks for his first NFL catch in his second NFL game. Mixon (knee), who went limited on Thursday, drew his sixth straight start since his Sept. 15 knee scope.
With the return of Dennard, back-up cornerback KeiVarare Russell went inactive. Back-up tackle Cedric Ogbuehi was also a healthy scratch. Back-up defensive tackle Adolphus Washington (knee) was also down.
Lewis is looking to even his record at 4-4 against quarterbacks making their first NFL start if Jackson gets the call. The Bengals beat the Rams' Brock Berlin in 2007, the Panthers' Jimmy Clausen in 2010 and the Browns' Johnny Manziel in 2014. They lost to the 49ers' Shaun Hill in 2007, Flacco here in the 2008 opener, and Houston's Tom Savage in 2016 and Deshaun Watson in 2017.