Mike Preston's Report Card

Ravens Gameday

October 08, 2007|By MIKE PRESTON



Injuries can't be used as an excuse. Steve McNair was erratic again. He hasn't hit a level of consistency yet this season. Coach Brian Billick is right. He is the only guy in town who thinks McNair is playing well.

Running back


Willis McGahee always seems to fall forward, gaining yards. He is tough to bring down and is getting better on cutback runs. Now, the Ravens just need to take the ball out of McNair's hands and put it in McGahee's, just like they did in 2000 with Trent Dilfer and Jamal Lewis.

Offensive line


For a patchwork group, the unit did OK. The false-start penalties have to stop, especially with this sorry offense. The line of the future was on display. Center Mike Flynn and left tackle Adam Terry allowed too much penetration on running plays.



These little hooks, hitches and crossing routes work against some teams, but not against the better ones. Derrick Mason had 11 catches for 85 yards, and Demetrius Williams and tight end Quinn Sypniewski each had four. But the dink-and-dunk show might get dunked soon.

Defensive line


Tackles Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg were in the 49ers' backfield most of the day. Justin Bannan also had a strong game for the Ravens as a reserve tackle. Gregg finished with six tackles.



Inside linebackers Bart Scott and Ray Lewis each had six tackles. They weren't fooled by any of the 49ers' trick plays. Jarret Johnson had four tackles,two for losses, and fellow outside linebacker Terrell Suggs had five assisted tackles.



The defensive backs got the day off. They weren't tested a lot but did give up passes of 23 and 42 yards. That's probably because they were napping from getting no action. Safety Ed Reed had an interception that led to a field goal.

Special teams


Matt Stover redeemed himself from a week ago by converting three field-goal attempts. The Ravens allowed too much yardage on kickoff returns and had trouble deciding when to fair catch punts. It might have been the sun, which was extremely bright at one end of the field.

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