Joe Flacco played much tougher than his 78.5 quarterback rating. He held the ball until the last second and delivered some good passes while taking a beating. Flacco got away with some completions while throwing off his back foot. He missed a couple of long ones that could have been touchdowns, but he had a strong presence in the pocket.
Running backs: A-
Fullback Vonta Leach dominated his former teammates as a blocker, while running back Ray Rice carried the offense, especially in the fourth quarter. Rice is as much of a weapon as a receiver as a runner.
Wide receivers: B
Anquan Boldin had eight catches for 132 yards and made a great catch on a pass that should have been intercepted. Torrey Smith had a 51-yard reception and is doing a better job at running shorter routes. Tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta (left) have to block better.
Offensive line: C
The Ravens wore down the Texans in the final quarter, but this group has to improve in pass protection. Left tackle Bryant McKinnie needs to work on foot speed, and right tackle Michael Oher appeared lost in short-yardage situations. The Ravens got little movement inside in the first half.
Defensive line: B+
Houston had no room to run inside, and tackles Haloti Ngata, Brandon McKinney and Terrence Cody did a good job of staying on their feet. End Cory Redding kept pressure on quarterback Matt Schaub and has a tireless motor.
Ray Lewis led all defenders with 12 tackles, and dominated tackle-to-tackle. Strong-side linebacker Jarret Johnson had seven tackles and squeezed all running plays inside. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs knocked down one pass and got a couple of hurries, but had a relatively quiet game.
The Ravens held one of the league's best passing teams to just 220 yards passing. For the most part, the Ravens played well but occasionally got careless. Cornerback Lardarius Webb had seven tackles, and safety Bernard Pollard finished with five; he brought his A game.
Special teams: A
Billy Cundiff converted on five field goals, including kicks of 43 and 48 yards. The Ravens also had seven touchbacks. Houston returned just one punt for 4 yards, and Sam Koch averaged 45 yards on two punts.
Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano cut down on some of the blitzes in the second half, which eliminated passes over the middle that went for big yards in the first half. The Ravens had a good run-pass ratio, and coach John Harbaugh has had a good year at winning challenges.
Mike Preston grades the Ravens' 29-14 win over the Houston Texans
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