Report card

NFL Week 1

September 10, 2001|By Mike Preston

Quarterback A+

Elvis Grbac carried the offense while the rest of the unit struggled in the first half. He connected on several big passes, and he continues to make plays with his mobility in the pocket. He is only going to get better as the season goes on and he gets more acquainted with his receivers.

Offensive line C

Guards Kipp Vickers and Edwin Mulitalo and center Mike Flynn had problems with tackles Keith Traylor and Ted Washington, but they wore down the big man, Washington, in the fourth quarter. Offensive tackles Jonathan Ogden and Sammy Williams didn't have many problems with defensive ends Phillip Daniels and Bryan Robinson. This group, though, has to do a better job of run blocking.

Running backs D+

The Ravens' running game is not much of a threat, so teams aren't respecting their play-action passing. Terry Allen didn't have a lot of holes to run through. He got stronger as the game went on, but needs to hold onto the ball. Second-year running back Jason Brookins ran hard on his one carry for 8 yards, but was pulled out after that attempt. He should have gotten more time. Sam Gash threw one heck of a block on Allen's touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Receivers B

Qadry Ismail had a solid performance with six catches and only one drop. Rookie Todd Heap and Shannon Sharpe gave the Bears fits in the Ravens' two-tight end offense. But Brandon Stokley seems to play better in the slot than on the outside because he doesn't match up well with No. 1 or No. 2 cornerbacks. This group, though, has good potential.

Defensive line B

The Bears had some room to run in the first half, but abandoned their rushing game by the fourth quarter, even though the Ravens didn't have a significant lead. Chicago didn't want any parts of the Ravens' front four, and tried to stay outside with the run and the pass.

Linebackers A

This group dominated the game. The Bears had nowhere to run and no lanes in which to throw. Jamie Sharper, Peter Boulware and Ray Lewis did a nice job of swarming to the ball, especially on short passes in the flat. Boulware is starting to play the run as well as he rushes the quarterback.

Secondary B

Cornerbacks Chris McAlister and James Trapp didn't get much work on the deep stuff, but they were solid coming up to make tackles. Strong safety Corey Harris delivered some strong hits in run support, but free safety Rod Woodson was miserable, missing numerous tackles in the open field. Trapp had an interception in the fourth quarter.

Special teams B

Jermaine Lewis had a decent game, averaging 23.3 yards on three kickoff returns and 16.0 on two punt returns. Kyle Richardson had a steady day punting, averaging 40.3 yards on three punts, and kicker Matt Stover was 1-for-2 on field-goal attempts. Stover needs to get more distance on his kickoffs. The Ravens' cover units held Chicago to an average of 8 yards on punt returns and 21.7 on kickoffs.

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