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Mike Preston's Report Card

Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 10-9 win over Broncos | COMMENTARY

Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after a 10-9 win over the Denver Broncos in Sunday’s Week 13 matchup at M&T Bank Stadium.

Quarterbacks

The quarterbacks were under duress the entire game but backup Tyler Huntley still came through in crunch time, directing a 16-play, 91-yard game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter. Jackson, who exited late in the first quarter with a knee injury, did not look sharp in the short time he was in the game, and Huntley struggled at times trying to move around the pocket. But he completed 27 of 32 passes for 187 yards and had only one interception. The underhand pass he threw during the final drive was a poor decision. Grade: C

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Running backs

The Ravens had 103 rushing yards but 41 came from Huntley’s 10 carries. None of the three running backs gained much of a rhythm as Gus Edwards rushed for 12 yards on six carries and Kenyan Drake had 29 yards on seven carries. They really didn’t have much of a chance — Denver got a lot of penetration and crowded the line of scrimmage to shut down the running game. Coach John Harbaugh declined to talk about what it will take to get the running game going, but it better happen soon. Right now, the Ravens don’t have an offensive strength. Grade: D

Offensive line

The Ravens shuffled tackles because of injuries but that’s no excuse for how poorly the group played. The Ravens allowed four sacks and Huntley and Jackson were hit a combined five times. They couldn’t run the ball because Denver’s defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage. The Ravens had 285 yards of total offense, but most were the result of Huntley running around and making plays on his own. Grade: D

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Receivers

Despite playing with a backup quarterback, the passing game didn’t change much as the Ravens stayed with quick, short strikes. Damarcus Robinson had seven catches for 41 yards and Devin Duvernay added six for 43. Tight end Mark Andrews proved that he is not only the favorite target of Jackson but Huntley as well as he had four catches for 53 yards and was targeted seven times, one fewer than Robinson. Rookie tight end Isaiah Likely came up big during the game-winning drive with two catches for 17 yards. Grade: C

Defensive line

Before I start on the defense, I preface all grades by saying the Broncos are one of the worst offensive teams in the NFL, and it seemed like they weren’t trying to win. If they had any type of productive offense, they would have won this game easily. The Ravens basically had to shut down the running game, which they did, holding the Broncos to 88 yards on the ground. All three starting linemen — Calais Campbell, Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington — were good up front, which is why Denver had to settle for three field goals. Grade: B

Linebackers

Both starting inside linebackers, Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen, were solid tackling, especially after Denver made short catches over the middle. Both struggled in that area a week ago against Jacksonville. Smith finished with 11 tackles and Queen had nine before exiting the game on a cart with a thigh bruise. Both starting outside linebackers, Justin Houston and Jason Pierre-Paul, struggled to hold the edge on running plays and were expected to put more pressure on quarterback Russell Wilson. Pierre-Paul finished with four tackles and second-year outside linebacker Odafe Oweh got his second sack of the season and first since Week 4 against Buffalo. Grade: B-

Secondary

Cornerback Marcus Peters has been criticized in recent weeks for not coming up in run support or attempting to make tackles on screens or tosses that came his way, but he was dominant Sunday. He had four tackles and didn’t give up a big play. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey had seven tackles, including a sack, and also got another hit on Wilson. Safety Chuck Clark is good in run support but his safety mate, Geno Stone, gets lost in pass coverage and Denver took advantage. Rookie safety Kyle Hamilton had five tackles and is starting to impact games. He appears to have been studying more film. Grade: C+

Special teams

In a game as tight as Sunday’s, I don’t understand why Duvernay isn’t allowed to return some punts or kickoffs, especially when the offense struggles this much. There are times when he doesn’t even appear interested in returning a punt. One long return could change the course of the game. Justin Tucker made his only field goal attempt from 26 yards and punter Jordan Stout averaged 50.5 yards per punt, including one for 63 yards, and put five of six inside the 20-yard line. Grade: B

Coaching

Even though the Ravens were without Jackson for most of the game and played one of the better defenses in the NFL, the offense had very little energy and at times seemed content to just keep the score close. The defense was good but Wilson hit some deep throws when he decided to attack downfield. The Ravens were fortunate to win Sunday, but it wasn’t all about team character. The Broncos were pathetic on offense. Grade: C-


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