Report card

January 01, 2001|By Mike Preston

Quarterback C

Trent Dilfer didn't do anything spectacular, and that's the way it should be in this offense. He was 9-for-14 for 130 yards and no turnovers. The Ravens, though, might need him more in the passing offense Sunday against Tennessee.

Offensive line B

The Ravens allowed only two sacks, two fewer than in each of the past two games. The Ravens were supposed to run against Denver, and they did. They were particularly effective on the left side, where tackle Jonathan Ogden pushed around Kavika Pittman pretty easily.

Running backs A

Rookie Jamal Lewis had a subpar effort last week but rebounded strong yesterday. His 27-yard touchdown run in the third quarter sealed the victory. He also got some excellent blocking from fullback Sam Gash, who cleared the way on the touchdown. Lewis had 110 yards on 30 carries.

Receivers C

Patrick Johnson and Qadry Ismail sometimes don't get enough attention for their run-blocking. Ismail had four catches for 35 yards, and tight end Shannon Sharpe provided the big play of the day with a 58-yard touchdown catch-and-run down the right sideline in the second quarter.

Defensive line A+

This unit intimidated the Broncos in the first quarter. Denver also made a big mistake by trying to run wide on the Ravens, who just don't allow that to happen. Tackles Tony Siragusa and Sam Adams supplied a lot of pressure inside, and ends Michael Mc- Crary and Rob Burnett were relentless working on the outside. McCrary made left tackle Tony Jones look a little old.

Linebackers B+

It seemed impossible for middle linebacker Ray Lewis to turn his game up a notch, but he did yesterday. Strong-side linebacker Peter Boulware showed he is returning to form, but weak-side linebacker Jamie Sharper didn't have a tackle.

Secondary B

Cornerbacks Chris McAlister and Duane Starks were supposed to get a lot of work from receivers Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey, but it never materialized. The Ravens dominated up front, and the wind forced Denver to stay with a short passing game.

Special teams B+

The Ravens had a punt blocked, but otherwise turned in a pretty good effort. Punt returner Jermaine Lewis was hot last week, but the Broncos cooled him off yesterday. The Ravens' coverage units dominated Denver, as linebacker Brad Jackson and cornerback James Trapp each had two tackles.

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