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Mike Preston's report card after the Ravens' 27-14 win over the Broncos

Quarterback: Joe Flacco played a near perfect game as far as throwing the ball. He made some nice passes over the middle both short and long, and showed good touch along the sidelines when the Ravens had one-on-one matchups. He is at his best when the Ravens have some type of running game and can use play-action. Flacco finished with a quarterback rating of 91.4. Grade: A

Running backs: Alex Collins didn’t put up dazzling numbers, but he was effective and made the Broncos honor the running game. He also slowed their pass rush and was the primary reason the play-action passing game working. Collins finished with 68 rushing yards on 18 carries. Backup Buck Allen was effective as a receiver out of the backfield, but Collins should be the runner on short-yardage situations. Allen had three catches for 19 yards, including one for a 12-yard touchdown. Grade: B

Offensive line: This group did a good job of identifying and locating pass-rushing specialist Von Miller. The Ravens slid to Miller, giving their tackles help. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley might have had his best game of the year, and right tackle James Hurst also pass-protected well. Guards Alex Lewis and Marshal Yanda were physical at the point of attack. Grade: A-

Receivers: The Ravens’ primary goal was to throw short passes and get rid of the ball quickly. But besides throwing slant-ins to Michael Crabtree and hitting Willie Snead IV over the middle with short passes, the Ravens were able to work the deep end of the field with tight end Mark Andrews and wideout John Brown. Flacco got all the receivers involved in the game. Grade: A

Defensive line: The Broncos averaged 5 yards an attempt on 24 carries, but 35 of those were on an end around by receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Overall, it was a gutsy effort by this group, which was missing starting end Willie Henry and Michael Pierce, a top reserve at tackle. The Ravens had a nice rotation with Brandon Williams, Brent Urban, Chris Wormley and Patrick Ricard. Grade: B

Linebackers: The team was without injured starter C.J. Mosley but held up well. Terrell Suggs had 1.5 sacks, and Za’Darius Smith had one sacks and four hits on the quarterback. The latter had a strong first half. Rookie Kenny Young led the Ravens in tackles with 10, and he pursued all over the field. Veteran Albert McClellan provided strong run support on first down. Grade: A

Secondary: The Ravens didn’t get challenged much downfield because Denver ran a high school offense that relied on short passes. Cornerback Brandon Carr finished with six tackles, and safety Eric Weddle added five. The coverage was excellent for the most part as Broncos quarterback Case Keenum was forced to hold the ball too long on a number of occasions because no one was open. Grade: A-

Special teams: On rainy days, kickers have more impact than usual. Justin Tucker converted on two field goals, including one of 52 yards as the half expired. Sam Koch averaged 49.3 yards on four punts. But the Broncos blocked a punt and field-goal attempt. That can’t happen to the Ravens against good teams. Tim White didn’t fumble a punt return, which is a plus, and he returned a kickoff 37 yards. Grade: D+

Coaching: Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg called an excellent game, and defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale made some adjustments after a slow start in the first quarter. Overall, it was a strong effort all the way around by the Ravens, who game-planned well against a team with a tough running game and dynamic pass rush. Special teams need to improve. Grade: B+

mike.preston@baltsun.com

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