Ravens report card

(For Monday night's game)

January 09, 2002|By Mike Preston



Elvis Grbac didn't throw an interception, and that was the major concern of the Ravens entering the game. Grbac threw some nice passes over the middle, but with a running game that netted 212 yards, he should have completed at least 50 percent of his passes instead of going 10-for-27.

Offensive line


The Ravens rushed for more than 200 yards, which means there were a lot of holes, but there was also some atrociously poor tackling by the Vikings. The Ravens allowed only two sacks, but their short-yardage blocking was pathetic. Guards Edwin Mulitalo and Bennie Anderson have to do better jobs.

Running backs


All three of the team's running backs - Terry Allen, Moe Williams and Jason Brookins - ran hard, but the Ravens substituted at strange times. Brookins also ran too high on short-yardage situations. Coach Brian Billick was irate over offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh's calls on short-yardage running situations in the second quarter, but he should have overruled him before the play, not afterward.



The Ravens can do what a lot of opposing defenses can't, and that's make a receiver disappear. The Ravens rediscovered Travis Taylor, but have to spread the wealth among Qadry Ismail and tight end Shannon Sharpe, both of whom took the night off because of the dominant running game. Brandon Stokley had two catches for 50 yards, including one of 46.

Defensive line


Minnesota had some surprising success running the ball, gaining 86 yards. Tackles Tony Siragusa and Sam Adams basically stopped the running game up front, but their play still needs to become more consistent. It is doubtful that end Rob Burnett will ever get over his lower-leg injuries. Fellow end Peter Boulware had four sacks, several of those from quarterback Spergon Wynn's lack of presence in the pocket, which made him an easy target for Boulware.



Weak-side backer Jamie Sharper and middle linebacker Ray Lewis each had five tackles. Each week teams are making sure they have a helmet on Lewis and Sharper, especially with Boulware moving from strong-side linebacker to defensive end. Stong-side linebacker Brad Jackson had played well as Boulware's replacement, but he is getting attacked more and can't bring as much pressure on the pass rush.



Cornerback Duane Starks had a key fumble recovery that set up one field goal, and fellow cornerback Chris McAlister had an interception that prevented a possible touchdown. Safeties Rod Woodson and Corey Harris had some vicious hits, but the only person who shut down the Vikings receivers was Wynn, who was horrendous. His passes were so high that the receivers stopped going after them in the fourth period because the passes were hazardous to their health.

Special teams


Matt Stover, as he has the past three years, carried the offense, converting four field goals. But punter Kyle Richardson shanked two punts and didn't show a lot of desire to pick up a botched snap on another one. The Ravens had problems on several punt snaps, the second week in a row they have had such problems. Return specialist Jermaine Lewis seemed on the verge again of possibly breaking a punt return, but it didn't materialize.

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