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Mike Preston's Report Card

Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 17-9 win over Falcons | COMMENTARY

Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after a 17-9 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Saturday’s Week 16 matchup at M&T Bank Stadium.

Quarterback

Tyler Huntley was much more effective Saturday against the Falcons than he was against the Browns a week ago. He was better throwing on the run and completed 9 of 17 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. The stats aren’t overwhelming, but it’s enough to beat the Falcons. He was also effective on option plays, especially running inside the tackles, as he finished with 26 yards on 11 carries. He still stares down receivers and the Ravens are still conservative, but he kept several plays alive with his legs and ability to get outside the pocket. Grade: C+

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Running backs

The Ravens pounded the Falcons with running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, who combined for 184 yards on 34 carries. Dobbins had 59 yards on 12 carries and Edwards finished with 99 yards on 11 attempts. Dobbins, though, seems hesitant to make cuts inside the red zone and Edwards isn’t much of a threat when the Ravens get inside the other team’s 20-yard line. But they are the strength of this team heading into the postseason. Grade: A

Receivers

The Ravens picked up Sammy Watkins several days ago and he had a 40-yard reception in the first quarter. But like in most recent games, the receivers didn’t contribute much outside of solid run blocking. Tight end Mark Andrews caught three passes for 45 yards, including a 36-yarder. His body language on the field and on the sideline shows he isn’t happy with the passing game. Grade: C-

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Offensive line

The Ravens pretty much did everything they wanted to do along the front line, at least in the middle of the field. Both tackles — Ronnie Stanley and Morgan Moses — turned in strong games and guards Kevin Zeitler and Ben Powers did a nice job pulling. But inside the red zone, the Ravens aren’t getting a good push at the line of scrimmage, and that’s part of the reason this team is so inefficient. Grade: B+

Defensive line

The Falcons rushed 33 times for 115 yards, but overall it was a strong effort by a unit missing its best run stopper in Calais Campbell. The Ravens used a steady rotation of linemen with Justin Madubuike (seven tackles), Broderick Washington (five), Travis Jones (four), Brent Urban and even Isaiah Mack, but the Falcons wore the Ravens down in the second half by playing smash-mouth football. Fortunately, Atlanta’s offense is even more one-dimensional than the Ravens’. Grade: C-

Linebackers

Middle linebacker Roquan Smith was all over the field. He doesn’t just overpower the opposition but makes a lot of hustle plays and tackles from sideline to sideline, finishing with 15. Weakside linebacker Patrick Queen, who had nine tackles, is more stable than he has been in the last two years but is still inconsistent in pass coverage. Tyus Bowser has been consistent holding the edge on the outside but Odafe Oweh has become a liability against the run. Grade: C-

Secondary

The Ravens didn’t get challenged much and the Falcons have few outside threats except for rookie receiver Drake London, who had seven catches for 96 yards. As long as they kept everything in front of them and made tackles, Atlanta posed little threat. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey played well, finishing with seven tackles and forcing one turnover. Safety Chuck Clark also had seven tackles. With cornerback Marcus Peters out with a calf injury, rookie Damarion “Pepe” Williams and Brandon Stephens got some work. Grade: B-

Special teams

Justin Tucker converted on field goal attempts of 21, 27 and 21 yards but also had a 55-yard attempt blocked in the first half. This is the second straight week the Ravens have had a field goal try blocked. James Proche II did a good job fielding punts filling in for the injured Devin Duvernay. Tucker was short on several kickoffs but that might have been by design or because of the wind. Grade: B

Coaching

Coach John Harbaugh made several poor decisions, including ordering the 55-yard field goal attempt that was blocked instead of pinning the Falcons deep in their own territory with a punt. His decision to challenge whether a pass was tipped later in the game wasn’t really worth it and it cost the Ravens a timeout. Despite playing for a playoff berth against a sorry Falcons team, the Ravens were lethargic. Offensively, there are still many questions to answer, and the Falcons piled up 327 yards of total offense. Not good. Grade: C


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