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Mike Preston

Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 27-22 win over Buccaneers | COMMENTARY

Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after a 27-22 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Thursday night’s Week 8 matchup at Raymond James Stadium.

Quarterback

Lamar Jackson looked lost at times in the first half and Tampa Bay did a good job of keeping him in the pocket. But he started to settle in during the second half behind a strong running game, and the Ravens did a decent job of moving him out on the edge to throw. Jackson found a rhythm with rookie tight end Isaiah Likely and wide receiver Demarcus Robinson and did well to spread the ball around. He might have found his confidence that had been lacking in the past four games. Jackson completed 27 of 38 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another 43 yards on nine carries. Grade: B

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Running backs

A good, strong running back is needed to run the Ravens’ offense appropriately, and they have found one with the return of Gus Edwards, who wasn’t used much in the first half but dominated in the second. Edwards rushed for 65 yards on 11 carries before injuring his hamstring and did not return. The Ravens also got a strong effort in relief from backup Kenyan Drake (seven carries for 62 yards), who caught one of Jackson’s touchdown passes and broke free for a 40-yard run in the fourth quarter. Patrick Ricard is the best blocking fullback in the NFL. Grade: A

Offensive line

The Ravens got away from their specialty of running the ball in the first half but turned it up in the second once they figured out Tampa Bay’s front. The tackles played well and both guards, Kevin Zeitler and Ben Powers, were able to get to the second level and take on linebackers. Rookie center Tyler Linderbaum struggled when covered but has exceptional quickness when a player isn’t lined up over his head. Grade: B+

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Ravens wide receiver Devin Duvernay, right, scores a touchdown on a 15-yard run in front of Buccaneers safety Mike Edwards, left, cornerback Jamel Dean in the fourth quarter Thursday night in Tampa, Florida.

Receivers

Tampa Bay was missing its three top cornerbacks and strong safety because of injuries and the Ravens took advantage. Robinson (six catches for 64 yards) worked the short game to the outside of the field and Likely (six catches for team-high 77 yards) got behind the Buccaneers’ linebackers several times on play-action. The Ravens finally have a role for speedy slot receiver Devin Duvernay, who had two catches for 33 yards but also rushed twice for 33 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Tight end Mark Andrew left the game early with a shoulder injury. Grade: C+

Defensive line

After a shaky first quarter and a brief lull early in the third, the Ravens kept Tampa Bay’s running game in check. The Ravens played without starting end Calais Campbell (illness) but kept enough pressure on Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady to stop him from stepping up in the pocket. Tackles Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington each finished with three tackles, and Washington knocked down two passes at the line of scrimmage. Grade: B

Linebackers

The Ravens limited outside linebacker Justin Houston’s snaps but he still finished with two sacks. Inside linebackers Patrick Queen and A.J. Klein each finished with four tackles, but Klein struggled to get off blocks. Queen might have reached a turning point in his career, having played well in three straight games after struggling throughout his first two seasons. Second-year outside linebacker Odafe Oweh struggled to hold the edge and get off blocks. Grade: C+

Secondary

The Ravens came out slow as the Buccaneers put together a six-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on the their first possession, but once they realized Brady couldn’t throw deep consistently, they started jumping routes and pressing receivers. Safeties Chuck Clark and Geno Stone were firm in run support and kept receivers in front of them on a lot of short passes. Wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin still averaged 20.5 and 12 yards per catch on six receptions each, respectively. Grade: C

Special teams

Duvernay returned three kickoffs for 62 yards and had three punt returns for 26 yards. He is at the point now where he is always a threat to break a long one for a touchdown. Justin Tucker made two of his three field goal attempts, including makes from 22 and 30 yards, but his 61-yard try was blocked at the end of the first half. Rookie Jordan Stout averaged 52.5 yards on four punts and landed two inside the 20. Likely recovered the onside kick in the final minute to finish off Tampa Bay. Grade: B

Coaching

The Ravens were clearly at a disadvantage having to travel to Tampa Bay with only one day of preparation, and they were sluggish in the first quarter. But they settled down and dominated the second half to pull out a victory. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman got away from running the ball early, allowing Jackson to throw 30 times in the first half, but that changed in the final two quarters. Defensively, the Ravens were able to get some pressure on Brady, and coordinator Mike Macdonald took away Tampa Bay’s running game in the second half. Grade: B+


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