Mike Preston

Mike Preston's report card from the Ravens' 22-10 win over the Chargers

Carson, Calif. — Quarterback: Ravens rookie Lamar Jackson is so unpredictable. It’s not only from quarter to quarter, but play to play. He is exciting as a runner and makes plays because of his elusiveness, but fumbles too often. When he passes, you never know where the ball is going to go. But the kid shows patience in the pocket and so far is a winner. Grade: C

Running backs: Rookie Gus Edwards wasn’t spectacular but he was steady and that grinding style wears down a defense. Backup Kenneth Dixon didn’t play as well as he has the past two weeks, and his fumble led to a Chargers touchdown to open the second half. But with this offense, the Ravens aren’t looking for style points. They had enough production to keep their defense off the field. Grade: C+


Offensive line: The Ravens had more than 100 yards rushing in the first half alone. Guards Marshal Yanda, James Hurst, Bradley Bozeman, Jermaine Eluemunor and center Matt Skura pounded the Chargers with old fashion gut running. This was a fine time to be able to run inside because Los Angeles has a lot of speed, which eliminates some of the outside running. The Chargers got some pass rushing pressure, but overall it was another stable performance by the offensive line. Grade: B

Receivers: It’s hard to evaluate this group because Jackson is so erratic with his passing and he doesn’t allow his receivers to gain a lot of yards after the catch. But the tight ends are starting to contribute more and the Ravens are using both in passing sets. Rookie Mark Andrews had a 68-yard touchdown and fellow rookie Hayden Hurst was also successful on underneath and crossing routes. Grade: C


Defensive line: Los Angeles had a lot of holding penalties, which is an indication that it couldn’t handle tackles Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce. Besides stopping the run, Williams and Pierce got pressure on the inside along with end Brent Urban. If the Ravens can continue to get pressure up the gut, this defense can takes its game to another level. Grade: A

Linebackers: Outside linebackers Terrell Suggs, Matthew Judon and Za’Darious Smith dominated offensive tackles Russell Okung and Sam Tevi. They kept constant pressure on quarterback Philip Rivers and consistently chased him out of the pocket. The Ravens were also good in defending screens and might have had their best day tackling in the open field. Weak-side linebacker Patrick Onwuasor also got a lot of pressure on Rivers and forced a late fumble by Antonio Gates that Tavon Young returned for a touchdown to seal the victory. Grade: A

Secondary: Some of the Ravens’ pressure on Rivers was caused by coverage in the secondary. The Ravens stymied one of the best pass catching groups in the NFL. Cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey were physical in press coverage and Brandon Carr also played well in nickel situations. Both Carr and strong safety Tony Jefferson tackled extremely well. Grade: A

Special teams: Kicker Justin Tucker made three field goals, including one of 56 yards. The Ravens also got decent punt returns and good field position from Cyrus Jones. The Ravens didn’t allow any big plays and, combined with a stellar defense, won the field-position game. Grade: C+

Coaching: The Ravens were operating on a short week and had to travel to the West Coast. They held down one of the league’s best offenses and got enough from the offense to compete with Los Angeles. It was a strong, major effort by the Ravens. Grade: A