Mike Preston's Report Card

Ravens 24 Falcons 10

Ravens Gameday

November 20, 2006|By MIKE PRESTON

Quarterback

B

Each game, Steve McNair runs hot and cold. As he goes, so go the Ravens. Sometimes he can make easy passes look difficult. With this team, it seems that the passing game now opens up the running game. Like the rest of the offense, McNair played much better in the second half.

Offensive line

B+

We'll excuse this group for its sloppy first half, when there were several false-start penalties. Two young guards, Jason Brown and Chris Chester, played well. Center Mike Flynn worked well doubling with Brown and Chester, and tackles Tony Pashos and Jonathan Ogden dominated at the point of attack.

Running backs

A

Even in the first half, Jamal Lewis ran hard, but he had no place to go because the offensive line was allowing too much penetration. Once that stopped, Lewis dominated and wore down the Falcons. Fullback Ovie Mughelli had a strong day blocking. Maybe this was the turning point for the running game.

Receivers

B

Second-year wide receiver Mark Clayton wasn't expected to have an impact this season, but he has been exceptional. Clayton had five catches for 89 yards, including one reception for 42 yards. Tight end Todd Heap had six catches for 62 yards and wide-out Derrick Mason had three for 28.

Defensive line

A

It was a complete game for ends Trevor Pryce and Terrell Suggs. They dominated line play and kept pressure on quarterback Michael Vick all game. Pryce had two sacks and Suggs one. Tackle Kelly Gregg finished with two tackles, but the Ravens need to get more out of rookie tackle Haloti Ngata.

Linebackers

B+

For the second straight week, the linebackers were sluggish at the start. Bart Scott and Adalius Thomas allowed blockers to get into their bodies early, but dominated and intimidated the Falcons for the final three quarters. Thomas and Scott put a lot of pressure on Vick when blitzing.

Secondary

B

This group wasn't tested downfield because the Falcons don't have a legitimate threat at receiver. They basically have a short passing attack, with most of those passes to the outside of the field. Chris McAlister had five tackles, and fellow cornerback Samari Rolle had four tackles, including one sack.

Special teams

A

Even though Matt Stover missed a 42-yard field-goal attempt and the punt-return team was called offside twice, returner B.J. Sams turned the game around for the Ravens with 91 yards in kickoff returns and 121 in punt returns. He owned the Falcons.

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