Mike Preston's Report Card

Gameday

December 25, 2006

Quarterback

B+

Steve McNair made the tough throws when he had to. It's amazing how a guy can look so bad on one play, then so good on another. McNair completed 21 of 31 passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns. Two of his passes were intercepted, but only one was his fault.

Running backs

B-

Fullback Ovie Mughelli has become more involved with the offense and had four carries for 21 yards, including a long of 12. He also has become a receiving threat out of the backfield. Halfback Jamal Lewis had 77 yards on 24 carries, but had a KO of linebacker Joey Porter in the second quarter.

Offensive line

B

Adam Terry played well in place of Jonathan Ogden. He held Porter to no sacks and no hurries. He needs to improve his run blocking. Center Mike Flynn played well, even though he was significantly outweighed by nose tackle Casey Hampton. Good job by right tackle Tony Pashos.

Receivers

A

These guys sometimes make McNair look good when he throws errant passes. Mark Clayton had seven catches for 108 yards, and Demetrius Williams caught a 25-yard touchdown pass. The Steelers were so focused on the receivers that they sometimes left tight end Todd Heap open.

Defensive line

A

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata had six tackles, including one sack, and caused major problems up front. End Terrell Suggs and tackle Trevor Pryce produced constant pressure. Pittsburgh had no chance up front. The Steelers were dominated.

Linebackers

B

The defensive line was so overwhelming that the linebackers didn't have to make many big plays. Outside linebackers Adalius Thomas and Bart Scott combined for 11 tackles, and middle linebacker Ray Lewis had four. Thomas and Lewis had one-half sack each.

Secondary

A

This group blanketed the Steelers. Cornerbacks Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle jumped a lot of routes, and Rolle (seven tackles) was a physical presence. The Ravens keep getting big plays from young players, such as cornerback Corey Ivy and safety Dawan Landry.

Special teams

B

Punter Sam Koch helped control the game. He averaged 46 yards on four punts. The Ravens also did a nice job of covering punts and kickoffs. Ivy led the special teams in tackles with two. Clayton might have to return punts in the postseason to spark the punt return game.

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