Mike Preston grades the Ravens' win over the Rams

September 25, 2011|Mike Preston

Quarterback: Joe Flacco threw for 389 yards and had a quarterback rating of 103.6. He read the Rams blitzes early and put his receivers in good position to make plays. He got all of them involved in the offense. Flacco, though, missed some receivers underneath as the game went on because he got greedy. Also needs to work on getting his passes down. Grade: A.

Running backs: Running back Ray Rice had only nine carries, but still had 79 yards even though one run was for 53. He was a weapon as a pass catcher with five catches for 83 yards. Ricky Williams showed some good explosion for the first time this season and fullback Vonta Leach played a part in the offense as a blocker and receiver. Grade: A.

Offensive line: For the most part, this group held up well as far as pass protections. Flacco made it look better with good foot movement in the pocket. Left guard Andre Gurode struggled while trying to run block against defensive tackle Justin Bannan, and Michael Oher struggled on the right side. He had two penalties. Grade: B.

Receivers: Rookie wide out Torrey Smith shook off criticism and had a big game. There were times when he simply blew by Rams defenders. Anquan Boldin led all receivers with seven catches for 74 yards, and tight end Ed Dickson worked the underneath stuff well with Boldin. Flacco throws too high to Dickson, and might get him chopped in half before the season is over. Receivers performed like this was a 7 on 7 drill. Grade: A.

Defensive line: The Rams can't win if they can't run, and Ravens defensive line did a nice job of closing down running lanes. Tackles Haloti Ngata and Terrence Cody were dominant up front, and ends Cory Redding and Arthur Jones (who doubles as a tackle) were excellent in pursuit. Redding got great pressure on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford: Grade: A.

Linebackers: This group played well as far as blitzing and getting pressure on Bradford. Three of the Ravens five sacks were from linebackers. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs dominated from both sides of the line of scrimmage. The only drawback was that the Ravens inside linebackers of Ray Lewis and Jameel McClain were slow plugging holes on running plays. They combined for 15 tackles, but didn't shed a lot of blocks. Grade: B.

Secondary: A lot of the Rams passing yards came in the second half when the Ravens were giving up the underneath stuff because they had a big lead. Safety Ed Reed played the long ball well and twice broke up potential big gainers in the first half. Cornerbacks Lardarius Webb was aggressive but both he and Cary Williams have to learn to stop and break on the ball on short to mid range passes. More teams are starting to zero in on Williams. Grade: B.

Special teams: Placekicker Billy Cundiff hit three field goals, but missed two 51 yards which is kind of surprising considering the game was played indoors. The Ravens averaged 30 yards on two kickoff returns and Webb returned a punt 29 yards. The returners, though, missed some glaring holes and could have scored. There will be some corrections made in the film room this morning. Grade: C+.

Coaching: Ravens bounced back after tough loss to Titans last week, and were ready to play. They did exactly what they needed to do in dismantling Rams. Ravens knew Rams had injuries in secondary, and went right after them. Defensively, Rams were totally confused by assortment of Ravens blitzes. The Ravens also had some lanes opened for possible touchdowns as far a returns, but they missed them. Ravens won with dominance. Grade: A.

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