Mike Preston

Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 23-17 win over Cardinals

Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after Sunday’s 23-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals.


Lamar Jackson made several big plays, especially in the second half, including the late 41-yard pass to rookie receiver Marquise Brown. He made some strong throws into tight windows and across the middle of the field. His running was the main reason the Ravens won, but he still needs to improve in directing the offense and getting personnel into the right positions. He also had several receivers wide open and missed them. Grade: B


Running backs

Mark Ingram II ran hard and had some tough runs in the fourth quarter to finish off the Cardinals, but the running game had no pop except for Jackson, who had 120 yards on 16 carries. Ingram finished with 47 yards on 13 carries, but the Ravens got very little from reserves Gus Edwards and Justice Hill. Most of the Ravens’ rushing yards came inside the tackles, but they had no threat on the perimeter except for Jackson. Fullback Patrick Ricard had another strong game blocking. Grade: C


Tight end Mark Andrews has become the focal point of the passing game as a possession receiver and a red-zone target. He had more than 100 receiving yards for the second straight game and had a 27-yard touchdown catch. Brown continues to come up with big plays and had eight catches for 86 yards, including that 41-yard reception late in the game to help seal the victory. Besides Andrews and Brown, the Ravens had seven other players catch passes, including Ingram, who had a 20-yard reception. The Ravens are going to need more from receivers on the outside other than Brown later in the season, though. Grade: C+


Offensive line

The Ravens failed to produce the type of running game they wanted, but tackles Orlando Brown Jr. and Ronnie Stanley did a decent job of handling Arizona outside linebackers Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs, the former Raven. But in the past two weeks, Brown and Stanley have gotten hit with several holding penalties, and that will hurt in close games. Right guard Marshal Yanda played well inside, but most of the Ravens’ rushing yards came off tackle. The Cardinals had two sacks, but the pass protection was more than adequate for most of the afternoon. Grade: C+

Defensive line

Arizona did the Ravens a favor and abandoned the run. The Cardinals had only 11 rushing attempts for 20 yards, so this game basically became a track meet for the defensive line. Fortunately, it didn’t matter much. Tackles Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce combined for three tackles, and the only linemen to get pressure were Ricard and Williams. The Ravens still need to get more pressure from inside. They should have been able to bring more heat against the Cardinals because Arizona was one-dimensional. Grade: C


If strong-side linebacker Matthew Judon continues to play this well, he’s going to make a lot of money during the offseason as an unrestricted free agent. He finished with four tackles, including one for a loss, a sack and three quarterback hits. Fellow outside linebacker Pernell McPhee also had two tackles for loss and put some pressure on Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray. Patrick Onwuasor had four tackles, but the inside linebackers looked lost in pass defense several times. Overall, this group was an upgrade over the defensive line and secondary. Grade: C+


This group needs to go back to the drawing board. The Ravens had some miscommunication problems against Miami, but the Dolphins couldn’t make them pay. If the Cardinals had more speed, the Ravens might have lost Sunday because some of their miscues could have resulted in touchdowns. Granted, there were times when Murray just chucked the ball and the Cardinals outfought the Ravens for it, but other times when Arizona receivers were wide open across the middle. It’s hard to point fingers at anyone in particular because there were times when the Ravens weren’t within 5 or 10 yards of any receivers. The Cardinals had receptions of 34, 54, 31 and 21 yards. It was a bad day at the office for the secondary. Grade: D

Special teams

Sam Koch averaged 43 yards on three punts and put two inside the 20-yard line. Justin Tucker made field goals of 33, 28 and 51 yards. He was automatic, as usual. Cyrus Jones returned a punt for 25 yards and Justice Hill also had a 26-yard kickoff return. The Ravens, though, need to cut back on some of the penalties that hurt their field position. Grade: B+


The Ravens had 10 penalties for 62 yards. They were late subbing players onto the field defensively and had problems with illegal formations offensively. Coach John Harbaugh made a bad decision by going for it on fourth-and-3 at the Arizona 43 late in the second quarter, which eventually led to a Cardinals field goal, and both he and Jackson were late calling a timeout before another fourth-down play. Harbaugh, though, lost a challenge he should have won on a possible pass interference call. Grade: D