Mike Preston

Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 41-7 win over Texans


Lamar Jackson started off slowly, completing just one of his first six passes, but he lit up the Texans the rest of the game. Jackson became more comfortable in the second quarter because he was rarely touched when dropping back to pass. Jackson completed of 17 of 24 attempts for 222 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 86 yards on nine carries. He sailed several passes but otherwise performed like this was a 7-on-7 drill. Grade: A-

Running backs

This group shows more versatility every game. In the beginning of the season, halfback Mark Ingram II was basically used as an inside runner, but he has become more of a threat on the outside, as well as a solid receiver and pass protector. Ingram had 48 yards on 13 carries and 12- and 25-yard touchdown receptions. Backup Gus Edwards played sparingly but still had 112 yards on eight carries, including a 63-yard touchdown run. Patrick Ricard blocks as well as any fullback in the league and could end up going to the Pro Bowl. Grade: A


Offensive line

This might have been the group’s best game of the year, especially as far as pass protection. There were times when Jackson had six or seven seconds to throw, which is unheard of in the NFL. Tackles Orlando Brown Jr. and Ronnie Stanley did a nice job of reach blocking on the edge, and guards Marshal Yanda and Bradley Bozeman and center Matt Skura controlled Texans nose tackle D.J. Reader. The Ravens did everything they wanted to do because the offensive line was so dominant. Grade: A


Linebackers have had problems matching up with the Ravens tight ends all year, and Sunday was no exception. Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst helped control the pace of the game, especially the middle of the field. Jackson didn’t need to pass downfield much to his receivers, but they bailed him out a couple of times on high throws. Receiver Seth Roberts had a 15-yard touchdown catch on a post pattern in the second quarter and Andrews had an 18-yard touchdown reception in the same quarter. It was nice to see the Ravens get the wide receivers involved in the offense, even though they were only targeted 10 times. The Ravens also had several drops. Grade: B+


Defensive line

The Ravens held Houston’s running game in check until the final quarter and basically made the Texans one-dimensional. When that happens, few teams can win in this league. The Ravens were without nose tackle Michael Pierce for basically the second straight week with an ankle injury, but fellow tackle Brandon Williams picked up the slack. Not only was he dominant at the line of scrimmage, but making tackles down field. The Ravens, using newly acquired backups Domata Peko Sr. and Justin Ellis, held the league’s No. 4 rushing team to 122 yards on the ground, with 41 of those coming on a touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter. Grade: A


Outside linebacker Matthew Judon dominated and might have played his best game in a Ravens uniform. He was all over quarterback Deshaun Watson with two sacks and four quarterback hurries. The Ravens also got strong pass-rushing performances from weak-side linebacker Patrick Onwuasor (one sack) and outside linebackers Jaylon Ferguson (one sack) and Tyus Bowser (two sacks). Inside linebacker Josh Bynes had two tackles and one interception to make up for his lackluster performance last week against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Ravens had some problems in pass coverage early but adjusted well in the final three quarters. Grade: B+


The Ravens finished with seven sacks, but several of those were the result of tight coverage in the secondary. Cornerback Jimmy Smith had problems with Houston receiver DeAndre Hopkins early in the game, but the Ravens countered by having cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey cover Hopkins. Safety Chuck Clark finished with five tackles and cornerback Brandon Carr had three. The secondary is starting to become the best unit on defense with players returning from injury and Peters playing well after being acquired in a trade. Grade: A.

Special teams

Justin Tucker converted on field-goal attempts of 34 and 46 yards but also missed from 43, which ended a streak of 22 straight makes. Sam Koch never punted, which is indicative of how well the Ravens dominated. The Ravens allowed a kickoff return of 28 yards but got little out of their return game, which is something coach John Harbaugh has been stressing the past two weeks. De’Anthony Thomas even muffed a punt in the third quarter, but recovered the ball. Grade: C+


The Ravens looked faster and stronger than the Texans, almost as if they were the team coming off a bye instead of Houston. Strategically, the Ravens accomplished their goals of wanting to run and stopping the run. Offensively, the Ravens took apart the middle of Houston’s defense with their passing game. Defensively, they attacked the Texans with several blitzes that Houston couldn’t block. The Ravens mauled the Texans. Grade: A