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Mike Preston

Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 23-20 win over Browns | COMMENTARY

Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after a 23-20 win over the Cleveland Browns in Sunday afternoon’s Week 7 matchup at M&T Bank Stadium.

Quarterback

Lamar Jackson threw 16 passes and completed only nine for 120 yards. He finished with a passer rating of 80.2, and it was easy to tell he was unhappy with the limited attempts. But he has struggled the past three games, so the Ravens turned him into a game manager against the Browns. Jackson rushed 10 times for 59 yards and his best play was a 31-yard pass to Devin Duvernay on the Ravens’ first offensive series. Grade: C+

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Running backs

Gus Edwards played his first game in more than a year because of a torn ACL, and he responded well with touchdown runs of 7 and 1 yards and finished with 66 yards on 16 carries. He helped cement the victory with some tough runs in the fourth quarter. Overall, Edwards ran well inside the tackles with good body lean. Justice Hill’s fumble in the fourth quarter almost led to yet another disastrous collapse and will serve as a reminder to hold the ball with two hands and get down late in the game when trying to secure a victory. Hill had five carries for 26 yards in his first game back from a hamstring injury. Grade: C+

Offensive line

The Ravens rushed for 160 yards and had nearly a nine-minute advantage in time of possession, but they still aren’t moving any players off the line of scrimmage in short-yardage situations. Tackles Ronnie Stanley, Morgan Moses and Patrick Mekari gave up too much ground to ends Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney as Cleveland finished with three sacks and five hits on Jackson. That’s partially why the Ravens only threw the ball 16 times. Grade: C

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Receivers

The Ravens didn’t get a lot out of this group but enough to get receptions of 26, 31, 19 and 16 yards. They finished with an average of 13.3 yards per catch on nine receptions. Wide receiver Rashod Bateman had four catches for 42 yards while Duvernay had two for 42. Tight end Mark Andrews was targeted twice but didn’t have a catch. Of course, the Browns shadowed him, but opposing teams also double Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce and he still delivers big plays. The Ravens need to find a way to get Andrews touches. Grade: C

Defensive line

The Browns entered the game with the NFL’s top rushing attack, averaging 172 yards per game, but the Ravens kept them in check with 113 yards on 24 carries. End Calais Campbell had a strong game with four tackles, including a sack and a forced fumble on quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Travis Jones and Broderick Washington had solid games, as did end Brent Urban, who got into Brissett’s passing lane several times. Grade: C+

Linebackers

This is a strange collection of players. The Ravens are most effective when inside linebackers Patrick Queen (11 tackles, one sack) and Josh Bynes (four tackles) blitz, but they can’t shed or get off blocks if offensive linemen reach them in the second level. The Ravens continue to have problems holding the edge, but they did get consistent pressure from outside linebackers Jason Pierre-Paul, Odafe Oweh and Justin Houston. They should be even better once Tyus Bowser (torn Achilles tendon) returns. Grade: C+

Secondary

Go ahead, admit it. A lot of folks thought the Ravens were going to give up another game-winning touchdown in crunch time, even with Brissett at quarterback. Safeties Chuck Clark and Geno Stone were second and third in tackles with nine and seven, respectively, but running back Nick Chubb (16 carries for 91 yards) punished them with some bruising runs. The Ravens have tried to hide cornerback Marcus Peters’ lack of speed on the outside, but the word is out around the league. There is still a disconnect between the linebackers and secondary in pass coverage as Brissett connected on 22 of 27 passes for 258 yards and finished with a passer rating of 106.5. That’s not good enough against a guy who’s been a backup for most of his career. Grade: C-

Special teams

Justin Tucker converted on field goal attempts of 32, 34 and 55 yards, which he made look easy. Rookie punter Jordan Stout had a strong day, averaging 60.3 yards on three punts and booming one 69 yards to flip the field in favor of the Ravens. Duvernay returned a punt 46 yards, which set up Tucker’s 34-yard field goal early in the second quarter. Linebacker Malik Harrison blocked Cade York’s 60-yard field goal attempt with 2:09 left to preserve the Ravens’ 23-20 lead. Grade: A

Coaching

The Ravens were able to bounce back after giving away last week’s game to the New York Giants, so they showed some resolve. It was a smart move by the Ravens to turn Jackson into a game manager, but offensive coordinator Greg Roman had no answers for the pressure Cleveland brought off the edge. He also had nothing to counter the Browns crashing down behind the Ravens’ offensive linemen when they were pulling from the back side. Coach John Harbaugh tried to compliment first-year defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald for his game plan Sunday, but there isn’t much to be impressed with playing the Browns, a run-oriented team that has lost four straight with a backup quarterback. Grade: C


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