Mike Preston's Report Card

November 21, 2005|By MIKE PRESTON



Has any team in the past 10 years had quarterbacks who trip over their feet more than the Ravens? Kyle Boller threw a couple of nice passes, including a long one dropped by Patrick Johnson in the end zone, but overall Boller looked more like Tommy Maddox than Ben Roethlisberger.

Running backs


Chester Taylor had some good runs and gained yardage when there wasn't any room. He had a strong first half but disappeared in the second. Jamal Lewis had 28 yards on 13 carries, compared to 59 on 19 attempts for Taylor. Overall, these guys aren't getting a lot of daylight to run.

Offensive line


The Ravens had 173 yards of total offense in the first half, and only 68 in the second. The group seemed to lose its rhythm as the game went on. The left side of tackle Jonathan Ogden and guard Edwin Mulitalo are good at the point of attack, but they aren't getting much help on the right side.



Brian Billick finally found use for Taylor and receiver Randy Hymes. Where have they been all season? Hymes had only two catches, but each had a major impact. Mark Clayton, Derrick Mason and tight end Todd Heap each had four catches, which showed that Boller spread the ball around.

Defensive line


The Steelers had only 70 yards rushing. End Tony Weaver had eight tackles and played well pursuing the Steelers down the line of scrimmage. Fellow end Terrell Suggs had only one tackle, but he intercepted one pass and hurried Maddox on numerous others. Tackle Kelly Gregg was solid as usual.



This group took away the middle of the field from Pittsburgh's passing game. Outside linebacker Bart Scott may have been the player of the game, and fellow outside linebacker Adalius Thomas wasn't that far behind. Middle linebacker Tommy Polley had five tackles.



Nickel back Deion Sanders has become a liability in passing situations, especially since he has to cover an entire field. The Ravens had a number of botched coverages, and if Roethlisberger had been the quarterback instead of Maddox, the Ravens would have given up about four touchdowns.

Special teams


The Ravens' coverage units were excellent. B.J. Sams returned one punt 30 yards, and Taylor averaged 33.7 yards on three kickoff returns. Punter Dave Zastudil had a good day and Matt Stover converted three field goals, including the game-winner of 44 yards. The Ravens won this game on special teams.

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