Report card

Rams 27, Ravens 10

September 13, 1999|By Mike Preston

Quarterback

F -- Scott Mitchell looked uncomfortable with his positioning in the pocket and his timing was off most of the day. The interception he threw in the second quarter was inexcusable, and so was some of the fumbling when he was getting sacked. This was one of the worst performances at the position in Ravens history.

Running backs

C -- Starter Priest Holmes had 52 rushing yards on 12 carries but was indecisive, which caused a delay in his acceleration. Fullback Chuck Evans did a nice job on his run blocking, but his pass blocking could have been a little better.

Receivers

C- -- Qadry Ismail played well even though he had to make a couple of adjustments on passes thrown behind him by Mitchell. Tight end Lovett Purnell had a big drop in the third quarter that should have been a touchdown. The Ravens failed to get Jermaine Lewis involved in the offense even though he is the most capable of a big play in the bunch. Timing was off for most of the afternoon.

Offensive line

D -- Holmes should have gotten the unit more yardage on running plays but the group gave up five sacks, some of those from running backs trying to block against defensive ends. But even when the tackles matched up with the defensive ends, it wasn't pretty, either. The Rams had plenty of success blitzing.

Defensive line

B -- The tackles did a nice job of working down the line of scrimmage and cutting off running back Marshall Faulk. Ends Rob Burnett and Fernando Smith also played well and with a lot of intensity. End Michael McCrary looked just like a player who hadn't played in a preseason game and spent the past couple of days depositing money in the bank.

Linebackers

B -- Strong-side linebacker Peter Boulware was active and supplied a decent pass rush. Weak-side linebacker Jamie Sharper defended the run well, but pass coverage is not his strong suit. Middle linebacker Ray Lewis was a beast all over the field. The group would have gotten an A, but the pass coverage wasn't up to par.

Defensive backs

D- -- What Isaac Bruce did to cornerbacks Duane Starks, Chris McAlister and DeRon Jenkins was a crime. Coach Brian Billick suggested that safety Rod Woodson was bored in training camp, which resulted in lackadaisical play in the preseason. What's the excuse now? Is Stevon Moore or Bennie Thompson still on the roster?

Special teams

D -- St. Louis returned the opening kickoff 31 yards and had a 35-yard punt return a series later. The Ravens had a 50-yard kickoff return nullified because of a penalty, and Matt Stover missed on two field-goals attempts of 54 yards. The missed field goals are acceptable, but not the 20-yard average allowed on three kickoffs. Billick called the special teams play "a wash." That was being polite.

Pub Date: 9/13/99

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