Mike Preston's report card: Ravens vs. Falcons

November 12, 2010|By Mike Preston, The Baltimore Sun

QUARTERBACK

Joe Flacco got pressured all night, and when he didn't, his thought process was extremely slow. He missed a wide-open Derrick Mason on what could have been a long touchdown pass and threw several passes into double coverage. Flacco didn't get into a rhythm with his offense until the fourth quarter. He needs to become a quicker starter. Grade: C+

RUNNING BACKS

Atlanta did a good job of taking away the running backs as weapons in the passing game, especially on screen passes. Ray Rice had a couple of nice runs, but whatever he and backup Willis McGahee earned, they did it on their own in the first three quarters. Like Flacco, Rice didn't wake up until the second half. Grade: B-

OFFENSIVE LINE

The Ravens were slow and sputtered all game. Left tackle Michael Oher and left guard Ben Grubbs appeared lost at times. Right guard Chris Chester spent too much time wrestling with defenders, and right tackle Marshal Yanda was slow off the ball. Most of the Ravens' offense was through improvisation by the skill players. Grade: D

RECEIVERS

You keep waiting for this passing game to explode, and it seldom happens. Anquan Boldin, in his first season with the Ravens, has emerged as a team leader, and Mason is still reliable. Few receivers work as hard as Mason to get back to the football. The Ravens, though, have to milk more out of the passing game. Grade: B

DEFENSIVE LINE

Atlanta gave the Ravens a steady diet of running back Michael Turner, but this group held up as far as stopping the run. All three starters played well, and the Ravens got solid relief from tackle Terrence Cody. The Ravens, though, still need more of a pass rush up the gut and opposite Terrell Suggs. This group just doesn't bring the heat. Grade: C

LINEBACKERS

Suggs has played extremely well in back-to-back games. Even when he didn't record a sack, he put pressure on Matt Ryan. Strong-side linebacker Jarret Johnson might have played his best game of the season and was able to shed blockers. The Ravens, though, need to improve their pass coverage underneath. At times, this group looked tired. Grade: D

SECONDARY

The Ravens weren't aggressive in coverage, and they got very little help from their pass rush. Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed still isn't at full strength but is playing as hard as possible. This group has to do a better job of tackling. The Ravens don't have a physical cornerback on the roster, and it hurts them. Grade: C-

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker Billy Cundiff was excellent as usual, and punter Sam Koch was solid. The Ravens, though, had several costly penalties, and Lardarius Webb fumbled on a punt return. The Ravens are still in search of dependable return specialists. Grade: C

mike.preston@baltsun.com

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