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Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens' 28-24 loss to Steelers | COMMENTARY

Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after Sunday’s 28-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after a 28-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

Quarterback

Lamar Jackson threw two interceptions that led to two Steelers touchdowns, including a pick-six. It’s hard to beat any team in the NFL when you give up 14 points off turnovers, and even harder when that team is undefeated. Jackson made some bad decisions throughout the game. He held on to the ball too long when passing and lacked ball security, fumbling three times. Jackson completed 13 of 28 passes for 208 yards with two touchdowns and finished with a passer rating of 65.8. Grade: D+

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Running backs

The Ravens didn’t miss starter Mark Ingram II, who was sidelined with an ankle injury. Rookie J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards were adequate replacements. Dobbins finished with 113 yards on 15 carries and gave the Ravens another outside threat on the perimeter besides Jackson. The second-round draft pick had good balance and is tough to bring down. Edwards, who had 87 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, was just as tough, finishing off some excellent runs. Grade: A

Offensive line

This group was decimated with ankle injuries to left tackle Ronnie Stanley and right guard Tyre Phillips. Regardless, the Ravens still ran the ball well, with center Matt Skura and backup guard Patrick Mekari getting movement at the point of attack. But the Ravens, who had Orlando Brown Jr. fill in for Stanley and DJ Fluker take Brown’s previous spot at right tackle, struggled pass blocking as the Steelers got consistent pressure with four- and five-man rushes. Jackson was sacked four times and hit nine other times. Unfortunately for the Ravens, Stanley has been lost for the year. Grade: C

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Receivers

Because of the constant pressure up front, it was hard for the Ravens to get their receivers involved in the passing game. They also had to add extra blockers to protect Jackson, which forced them to send out only two or three receivers at a time. The Ravens need to find a role for Willie Snead IV, who had five receptions for 106 yards. He’s a tough guy they need to keep on the field. Marquise Brown had a touchdown catch but was targeted just twice and wasn’t much of a factor. Tight end Mark Andrews had three catches for 32 yards and Miles Boykin had a 6-yard touchdown reception and a good day blocking. Jackson also missed a couple of open receivers. Grade: C+

Defensive line

The Ravens were dominant up front and held Pittsburgh to 48 rushing yards on 16 carries. Tackles Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams were strong. They combined for only five tackles but shut down any inside runs. The Ravens showed some looks with a four-man front using outside linebackers such as Jaylon Ferguson and Tyus Bowser as ends, and both played extremely well, especially as pass rushers. Grade: A

Linebackers

Both Bowser and Ferguson got consistent pressure on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Ferguson might have had his best game in a Ravens uniform, finishing with two tackles for loss, a sack and two quarterback hits. Bowser didn’t get credit for any tackles, but he forced Roethlisberger to step up in the pocket several times. The Ravens needed both to play well after starting outside linebacker Matthew Judon was ejected in the second quarter for touching an official. The inside linebackers gave up a lot of yards over the middle in Pittsburgh’s short passing game, but they were strong in run defense. Grade: B+

Secondary

The Ravens controlled Pittsburgh’s receivers in the first half but not in the second. The Ravens cornerbacks can be beaten with speed, and they love to hold once they get beat. The Ravens lost their composure in the second half when the Steelers had drives of 77 and 80 yards. They are buddy-buddy when things are going well but quick to point fingers on the field when mistakes happen. Roethlisberger found his rhythm in the second half and the Ravens had few answers for the Steelers’ short passing game. Grade: B-

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Special teams

Justin Tucker converted on his only field-goal attempt, a 51-yarder just before halftime. The Ravens only punted once in the first half and Sam Koch averaged 39.7 yards on his three punts on a rainy, sloppy field. Neither team got much out of its return game, as each team basically held the other in check. Grade: B

Coaching

Some of the Ravens intimated after the game that this team had found its identity, but it won’t until the Ravens figure out what’s wrong with Jackson. The play-calling was limited and it took a while for the Ravens to figure out Pittsburgh’s defensive adjustments in the third quarter. Defensively, the Ravens controlled the pace of the game, but when it gets tight, they sometimes panic. Someone, a player or a coach, needs to take charge during crucial moments. Grade: C

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