Mike Preston's report card after the Ravens' 36-21 loss to the Panthers

Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston talks about the Ravens' 36-21 loss to the Carolina Panthers. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)

Quarterbacks: Except for the opening drive, Joe Flacco looked out of whack for most of the game. He had two interceptions, both of them poorly thrown passes. Backup Lamar Jackson had a couple of good runs, but his errant pass on the second possession turned the momentum of the game. There should be no excuses after this game. It was just a poor performance by Flacco, and he was as ineffective as he was in the team’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2. Grade: F

Running backs: Alex Collins has been criticized for weeks about his decision-making and double clutching on runs, but he was the team’s top offensive performer Sunday. He proved that the lack of a running game is not all his fault. He had a fumble in the second quarter, but on a play in which he was smacked as soon as he touched the ball. He was the only player who might have hit a home run for the Ravens. Grade: C+


Offensive line: This group has been banged up lately, and when a team subs out starters there will be miscues and missed blocks. There were few holes for Collins, who made a lot of yards on cutbacks and jump cuts. This group was decent as far as pass protection for about 2½ quarters, but the Panthers were relentless in the remaining time. The Ravens can run off tackle but gain very little up the gut. Grade: D-

Receivers: The tight ends had been reliable for most of the season, but even they betrayed Flacco on Sunday with several drops. Without the play-action game, the receivers got exposed because they couldn’t win one-on-one matchups on the outside. John Brown’s speed was not a factor, and slot receiver Willie Snead IV got called twice for pass interference that nullified big gains. Grade: D

Defensive line: The players talked all week about being disciplined and maintaining gap control, but it was just that: talk. Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey bounced outside several times for good gains, and the Panthers ran a lot of misdirections and counters to take advantage of the Ravens’ aggressiveness. Not one of the Ravens’ big guys up front had much of a presence in the game except for late penalties. The Panthers ran through and around the Ravens. Grade: F

Linebackers: The Ravens failed to get much pass rush from outside linebackers Terrell Suggs, Tim Williams, Za’Darius Smith or Matthew Judon. Carolina exposed the lack of pass-coverage skills by the inside linebackers, especially C.J. Mosley. A week after he played what might have been his best game in a Ravens uniform, Mosley might have played his worst. The Panthers also exploited inside linebackers Kenny Young and Patrick Onwuasor in one-on-one coverage. Grade: F

Secondary: If the Ravens had Hall of Famers Ronnie Lott and Rod Woodson starting in the secondary Sunday, it wouldn’t have made a difference because the Panthers had too much time to throw. Carolina receivers were open all game and tight end Greg Olsen roamed freely in the middle of the field. The Ravens were without injured cornerback Marlon Humphrey, but he wouldn’t have made a difference. Woodson or Lott wouldn’t have either. Grade: F

Special teams: The Ravens couldn’t convert on a fake punt, which would have been a huge play in the first half. They got faked out on a fourth-down conversion by the Panthers, which led to a field goal late in the first half. Punter Sam Koch and kicker Justin Tucker have saved these units this season. Grade: D

Coaching: Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner took Ravens defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale to school Sunday. Without the play-action game the Ravens had nothing on offense, leaving coordinator Marty Mornhinweg little to turn to. Coach John Harbaugh failed to have his team ready to play, and getting caught by surprise after the delay-of-game penalty and then allowing the Panthers to convert a pass and kick a field goal at the end of the first half was atrocious. The worst part was that Harbaugh left the field at the half with two timeouts remaining. Grade: F