Mike Preston

Mike Preston's report card after the Ravens' 34-17 win over the Raiders

Quarterback: It looked as if both Lamar Jackson and the Ravens were out to prove that he could win the game from the pocket, especially in the opening half. The Ravens finally decided to allow Jackson do what he does best in the second half, when he rushed nine times for 60 yards and finished with 11 carries for 71 yards. Jackson had some decent throws and he got better from last week, but he isn’t capable or consistent enough as a pocket passer. He had a QB rating of 58.4. Grade: C

Running back: Gus Edwards took control of the game in the second half along with Jackson, and he finished with 118 yards on 23 carries. He rushed for more than 100 yards for the second straight game. Ty Montgomery had 51 yards on eight carries, but it was Edwards who controlled the pace of the game. He is a big back, and his straight-ahead style is good for this offense. It remains to be seen what will happen when the Ravens play better defensive teams instead of two of the worst run-stopping teams in the NFL. Grade: A


Offensive line: The Ravens pounded Oakland for 242 rushing yards, and tackles Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr. did a good job of walling off defenders and controlling the edge for Edwards. Both tackles also stepped down inside and got good angles toward the linebackers on running plays. Right guard Marshal Yanda, after a slow start, has played well in the past three games. Overall, the pass blocking was good, but the Ravens still seem a bit concerned about Jackson’s whereabouts in the pocket. Grade: A

Receivers: The Ravens went out of their way early in the game to get this group involved in the offense, and it cost them. If the Ravens are going to throw long, why not go to speedster John Brown instead of Michael Crabtree? Crabtree had three catches for 21 yards, but tight ends did most of the damage as Hayden Hurst had three receptions for 25 yards and Mark Andrews had one catch for 74 yards. The Ravens need to worry less about complaining receivers and focus more on Jackson and his running ability if he remains the starter. Grade: C


Defensive line: The Raiders finished with only 67 rushing yards on 19 attempts. Tackles Michael Pierce and Brandon Williams didn’t register any sacks, but they held their ground in the middle even though they had problems with left guard and former Raven Kelechi Osemele. Williams finished with three tackles, while end Brent Urban had two. The Ravens still need to get pressure from this group on passing plays, but the unit is firm in defending the run. Grade: B-

Linebackers: C.J. Mosley led the team in tackles with eight, but that number is misleading. There were times he made tackles after getting beat in pass coverage or after decent runs. Outside linebacker Matthew Judon had five tackles, including three sacks, and also forced a fumble. Fellow outside linebacker Terrell Suggs didn’t have a tackle, but returned a fumble 43 yards for a touchdown. The play by the outside linebackers was much better than the play on the inside, but the Ravens didn’t start getting consistent pressure until the game was out of hand. Grade: B

Secondary: Oakland has one of the most vanilla passing games in the NFL. The Raiders rely on a lot of hitches, short curls and slant-ins, and by the second half, the Ravens had swallowed those routes up. Cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey had a wait-and-see approach early in the game but became more aggressive. The Ravens still have problems covering tight ends and running backs, but that’s not going to change until they get better safety play. Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will be more of a problem next Sunday. Grade: C+

Special teams: The Ravens averaged 19.8 yards on four punt returns and Cyrus Jones had a 70-yard touchdown return in the second quarter. The Ravens also had two kickoff returns for 59 yards, including one for 33 yards by Chris Moore. Sam Koch averaged 47 yards on two punts and Justin Tucker converted on field-goal attempts of 47 and 28 yards. Grade: A

Coaching: The Ravens shouldn’t have come out throwing the ball against one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. They outsmarted themselves. On defense, the Ravens were solid in the first half, but became more physical in the second. Special teams, which have been good in the past, finally made contributions. Overall, the Ravens won by 17 but weren’t as dominant as the score might indicate. Coach John Harbaugh used his timeouts poorly in the first half. Grade: C-