Mike Preston's Report Card

Ravens Gameday

Ravens 30 Vikings 23

December 26, 2005|By MIKE PRESTON

Quarterback

B+

It was a strong showing by Kyle Boller standards. He threw a nice dart on the touchdown pass to tight end Todd Heap and was patient checking down to receivers. He managed the game well, and the Ravens allowed him to throw a lot of safe passes. He made plays. That's all that counts.

Running backs

C

Neither Jamal Lewis nor Chester Taylor was a factor as a runner. Taylor made some key catches coming out of the backfield, but Minnesota's defense was weak. There is no way check-down receivers should be gaining 12 or 13 yards on third down.

Offensive line

C+

There weren't a lot of holes for the running backs. Other than Jonathan Ogden, the group lacks major talent but is successful as long as the Ravens make good yardage on first downs. On third-and-long, the group's weakness in protecting the quarterback is exposed. The line wore the Vikings down late.

Receivers

A

Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton are starting to complement each other well. Clayton made a superb catch on his 47-yard touchdown reception, and Mason ran a great stutter-and-go pattern for a 39-yard touchdown pass. The receivers kept a lot of drives alive with key receptions on third down.

Secondary

C

Cornerback Chris McAlister had a communication breakdown on the 13-yard touchdown pass to Travis Taylor and was called for penalties on two third-down conversions that kept drives alive. Safety Ed Reed makes a big difference in the secondary. Overall, not a good night tackling for this group.

Linebackers

C

Considering that Minnesota's offensive line is so weak, this group should have been more dominating. Tommy Polley and Bart Scott were slow getting off blocks, and like most of the defense, the linebackers missed a lot of tackles. Adalius Thomas came up with a big play late in the game when he sacked Brad Johnson.

Defensive line

C+

The Ravens gave up little ground to Minnesota's running game, and with the exception of end Terrell Suggs, they got little pressure on Johnson. The Ravens are tough in the middle but give ground off tackle. They can get away with that kind of play against weak teams.

Special teams

B

Taylor fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half, which led to a Minnesota field goal. Dave Zastudil had some nice punts to hold the Vikings down in the first half. Matt Stover hit all three field-goal attempts. Overall, the Ravens have done a good job winning the field-position game most of the season.

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