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Pregame Notes: Bengals Beef Up Against Ravens Run With Shelvin

Bengals tight end Hayden Hurst in his return to Baltimore Sunday.
Bengals tight end Hayden Hurst in his return to Baltimore Sunday.

BALTIMORE _ With an eye toward stopping the Ravens' dangerous running game, the Bengals activated second-year defensive tackle Tyler Shelvin for the first time this season and for the fourth time in his career Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

When the Bengals contained Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson last season here in a 41-17 victory, they allowed just 115 yards on the ground, 88 of them to Jackson and, just, as importantly, a mere 19 yards to the running backs.

The Ravens have a new roster of backs, but the top one, Justice Hill (hamstring), is out. J.K. Dobbins, coming back from the knee injury that took him out all last season, is averaging 3.2 yards on his first 20 carries back. But last week against the Bills he had a touchdown both receiving and rushing and the last time he played against the Bengals he had a career-high 160 yards in the 2020 finale.

Shelvin, a fourth-rounder in 2021, has had a slow start to his pro career, in part because of a procedure he needed on his hand just before training camp. He didn't make the final cutdown, hooked on with the practice squad and it looks like they wanted more size on hand against the Ravens because they inactivated tackle Jay Tufele to promote the 350-pound Shelvin.

The Bengals' five inactives were all healthy scratches, although rookie cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt just returned to practice this week after a two-month stint on injured reserve. Also out were Tufele, running back Trayveon Williams, tackle D'Ante Smith and guard Jackson Carman.

SLANTS AND SCREENS: It appeared that left tackle Ronnie Stanley was going to play in his first game since last year's opener and just his eighth since 2019 …

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow could become the first quarterback to ever throw for at least 400 yards in three straight games against the same team …

Another big matchup number: Burrow hasn't thrown a pick in seven of his last eight regular-season games, a huge factor in a series where the team that wins the turnover battle is 35-6 …. The Bengals lead, 7-4, when the turnovers are even …

Even bigger numbers. The Ravens are 18-2 in home prime time games in the 15 seasons of head coach John Harbaugh and 7-1 on Sunday night.

Special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons no doubt has spent the week preaching about the speed of Ravens returner Devin Duvernay. He has the only kick return touchdown of the season, a 103-yarder against Miami on which he was clocked at 21.6 miles per hour for the fastest speed by a ball carrier this season …

If the 25-year-old Jackson rushes for 11 yards Sunday, he'll be the youngest quarterback in history to rush for 4,000 yards in his 63rd game, eclipsing what Mike Vick did in 87 games …

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