Mike Preston's Report Card

Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 34-17 win over Cowboys | COMMENTARY

Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after a 34-17 win Tuesday night over the visiting Dallas Cowboys:


This was pretty much a typical Lamar Jackson game. He made some key conversions on third-down runs and didn’t hesitate when he pulled the ball down and decided to scramble. Jackson missed several open receivers when his throwing technique was poor, but made a great throw to receiver Marquise Brown on a 20-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. He dominated. Grade: B


Running backs

A lot of Ravens fans thought J.K. Dobbins was going to be the top running back after a strong performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers several weeks ago, but coordinator Greg Roman is holding Dobbins back better than any defense. The Ravens need to establish him as the featured back. The Ravens did whatever they wanted running the ball with Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and Dobbins, but this offense might take off with Dobbins as the starter. Grade: A

Offensive line

The Cowboys entered the game with the worst run defense in the NFL and the Ravens punished them up front. The left side of the line with Orlando Brown Jr. and guard Bradley Bozeman was dominant, and the Ravens got solid play from center Patrick Mekari. They shuffled players on the right side with guard Ben Powers and swing tackles D.J. Fluker and rookie Tyre Phillips. Grade: A



With tight end Mark Andrews out of the lineup because of COVID-19, Brown has become Jackson’s favorite target. They connected for a 20-yard touchdown, but missed on several other opportunities. Timing still seems to be a problem for the duo. Third-year player Miles Boykin also had a 38-yard touchdown, his first major contribution in weeks. The Ravens, though, didn’t need a strong passing game because they were dominant running the ball. Grade: C

Defensive line

It was obvious that end Calais Campbell was still struggling from an ankle injury. He could hold his own at the line of scrimmage but had trouble pushing off in pursuit. Nose tackle Brandon Williams was also slow getting off the ball and had problems getting off blocks as the Cowboys ran inside. End Derek Wolfe had played well during the previous couple of weeks but wasn’t much of a factor against Dallas. Grade: D


In recent weeks, this group performed well in pass coverage but seemed to struggle against the Cowboys. With Campbell and Williams getting blocked inside, the Cowboys were able to get to inside linebackers Patrick Queen and L.J. Fort on running plays. The outside linebackers struggled holding the edge and provided the Ravens with very little pass rush. Grade: D


If there is a weakness on this unit, it’s that the Ravens have trouble keeping up with speedy receivers. When they face them, the Ravens tend to hold a lot. They looked lost at times in coverage and weren’t aggressive in pressing the Dallas receivers. Cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey were solid, but far from spectacular. Grade: C

Special teams

These units have played well most of the season, but that didn’t happen Tuesday night. When Justin Tucker misses a 36-yard field-goal attempt, his first miss under 40 yards in 70 attempts, it’s a bad night. The Ravens also allowed a 67-yard kickoff return that led to a Dallas touchdown. Fortunately for the Ravens, the Cowboys’ special teams played as badly as the Ravens’. Grade: C


Coach John Harbaugh had to get his team ready on a short week. It wasn’t a strong performance by the Ravens, but the team was prepared enough to handle a Cowboys team short on personnel. It’s still unclear whether the Ravens have developed the sense of urgency needed to get into the postseason, but the victory will suffice for now. Grade: B