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Mike Preston's report card after the Ravens' 31-27 season-ending loss to the Bengals Sunday

Quarterback: Joe Flacco was pathetic in the first half. There were times when he couldn’t even complete a swing pass. He heated up in the second half, particularly in the third quarter. It was a tale of two halves for Flacco. He needs to improve his football IQ. Grade: C-

Running backs: Alex Collins’ touchdown run in the third quarter was tremendous. He has been the Ravens’ most-consistent offensive player throughout the season and his touchdown run was the biggest play of the season. He gave the Ravens much needed life. Now, if they only blocked for him and Buck Allen, who had five carries for 37 yards. Grade: B

Receivers: Like Flacco, these guys were terrible in the first half, with several dropped passes. But in the third quarter, the Ravens started connecting on passes over the middle to Mike Wallace and Michael Campanaro, and Flacco started going to the tight ends in the flat. Tight end Benjamin Watson had seven catches for 61 yards and Wallace finished with five for 40. Grade: C

Offensive line: The Ravens couldn’t open holes against one of the worst defensive lines in the NFL. They allowed too much penetration and the running backs were forced to bounce outside way too early. Pass protection for Flacco was decent throughout the game. Grade: D

Defensive line: The Ravens haven’t been good against the run in the past two games and that was supposed to be a strong point. Tackles Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce got handled inside even though they turned it up a notch in the final 22 minutes of the game. Grade: D

Linebackers: Outside linebacker Matthew Judon, Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith couldn’t set the edge on outside runs in the first half. Judon and Smith played better in the second half but Suggs did very little and didn’t do much the previous two games. Grade: C

Secondary: The Ravens had holes in the first half and again struggled in covering the tight end. But they didn’t allow Bengals receiver A.J. Green to dominate . Cornerback Marlon Humphrey did a nice job of pinching Green on the sidelines and fellow cornerback Brandon Carr turned in a strong effort in the second half. The Ravens safeties seemed to be confused about what coverage they were playing on that last Bengals touchdown. Grade: C-

Special teams: Chris Moore gave the Ravens a big shot of momentum with his long kickoff return at the end of the first half. Punter Sam Koch was the team MVP in the first half when the offense struggled. The Ravens’ coverage units won the field position game. Unlike the rest of the team, the special teams played well for most of the game. Grade: A

Coaching: The Ravens came out with their usual slow start and it’s hard to believe that could happen considering this was basically a playoff game. The offensive game plan was vanilla in the first half. The Ravens adjusted and went downfield more to their receivers in the second. Defensively, the Ravens played better in the second half and they got more pressure on QB Andy Dalton in the final two quarters. But for whatever reason, this secondary can’t be trusted in crunch time. Grade: D

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