Report card

October 01, 2001|By Mike Preston

Quarterback -- B -- Elvis Grbac had a slow start and made a poor decision on his interception. But he rebounded strong and showed nice touch on his touchdown pass to Qadry Ismail. Sometimes, however, his mistakes remind you of another quarterback who played here, Vinny Testaverde.

Offensive line -- C+ -- The unit had trouble picking up blitzes in the first half, especially on third-down situations. But the line wore down Denver in the second half, and the group started controlling the pace of the game. The Ravens even ran to the right, a major change from the first two games.

Running backs -- C+ -- Terry Allen rushed for 65 yards on 19 carries and ran harder as the game went on. Second-year player Jason Brookins finally got the ball, gaining 31 yards on four carries, including a 20-yard run. Inserting him into the lineup may have put some fire into Allen.

Receivers -- B -- Second-year player Travis Taylor started for the first time this season, making four catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Grbac spread the ball around and got most of the receivers involved in the offense. Tight end Shannon Sharpe had five catches for 50 yards and kept a major drive alive in the second half with key receptions. Ismail did a nice job of wrestling the ball away from cornerback Denard Walker on his touchdown reception.

Defensive line -- B+ -- Tackle Sam Adams had his best game of the season. His penetration caused all kinds of problems for Denver. Fellow tackle Tony Siragusa also worked well down the line of scrimmage against the run. Right end Michael McCrary put pressure on quarterback Brian Griese most of the afternoon.

Linebackers -- A -- Middle linebacker Ray Lewis had a superb game, especially against the run. Strong-side linebacker Peter Boulware also had a strong day providing pressure from the edges. Weak-side linebacker Jamie Sharper didn't do a good job of covering the tight end. He got caught eyeing the quarterback too often.

Secondary -- B+ -- The Ravens didn't get much of a challenge from Denver, which spent most of the game trying to connect on short passes across the middle. Strong safety Corey Harris continues to be one of the best tacklers on the team. Free safety Rod Woodson had a chance to put the game away midway through the fourth quarter but could not hold onto a potential interception at the Denver 30 that would have been a sure touchdown. His pass interference late in the game was inexcusable because he let receiver Eddie Kennison get behind him.

Special teams -- C- -- Poor kickoff coverage allowed Denver to control field position in the first half. The Ravens tried to stay under control too much instead of blowing up the returns. The Ravens didn't get much production out of their kickoff return unit, either. Punter Kyle Richardson performed well, and he was the team's offense for most of the first half.

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