Report Card


December 22, 2008|By MIKE PRESTON



Joe Flacco made some really impressive throws. He showed great patience under duress and kept his patience regardless of what happened in the game. He won a big game against a quality team. It was a strong showing.



The Ravens gave up five sacks, but all were in the first half. They got better as the game went on. The Ravens' inside linemen had no answers for Dallas nose tackle Jay Ratliff. The Ravens wore down the Cowboys in the second half.



Derrick Mason put on a gutsy effort, maybe the grittiest in Ravens history. Tight end Todd Heap had some decent catches, but he also dropped a couple. The rest of the group wasn't a factor. If the Ravens go into the postseason, someone else has to step up.



Le'Ron McClain was steady, and he pounded the Cowboys. He softened up Dallas for Willis McGahee, who got some tough yards outside before delivering the big run in the fourth quarter. McGahee still needs to improve in pass protection.



Surprisingly, Dallas had success running inside and straight up the field against tackles Haloti Ngata and Justin Bannan. But they never let the Cowboys control the game and dictate the pace. End Trevor Pryce continues to play well.



This group had trouble stopping running back Tashard Choice. The Ravens, though, got great pressure on quarterback Tony Romo. Inside linebacker Ray Lewis blitzed well, and outside linebacker Terrell Suggs brought pressure from the perimeter.



Defensive coordinator Rex Ryan devised a nice scheme, and Romo became impatient not being able to throw the ball deep. But late in the game, Dallas exploited the secondary. The cornerbacks have to do a better job of tackling.



Matt Stover converted on every field-goal attempt, and punter Sam Koch was one of the Ravens' top weapons. At this point, Jim Leonhard needs to become the primary punt returner and the Ravens have to get Yamon Figurs off the field as a return man.

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