Mike Preston's Report Card

Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 19-17 win over Lions | COMMENTARY

Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after a wild 19-17 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Ford Field:


Lamar Jackson played one of his best games as a Raven, even if the numbers (287 passing yards, 58 rushing yards, one touchdown, one interception) don’t show it. He moved well in the pocket and made some nice touch passes, including the last one to receiver Sammy Watkins for 36 yards on fourth-and-19 that set up Justin Tucker’s historic, game-winning 66-yard field. A lot of his deep passes were nearly perfect, even though a couple were dropped. Jackson sometimes held on to the ball too long, but that was because he was trying to make things happen. Again, Jackson was the difference-maker. Grade: A



Tight end Mark Andrews owned the middle of the field. He got free working on crossing patterns or sometimes just streaking straight up the field. He was Jackson’s top weapon, catching five passes for 109 yards. Watkins also had several clutch receptions and finished with four catches for 68 yards. But the talk of this receiving corps will be the dropped passes by Marquise Brown, at least two of which should have been touchdowns. Grade: C+

Offensive line

This group seemed to be wearing the Lions down late in the third quarter and early in the fourth with the running game. The Ravens, though, never got in sync. Jackson made the pass protection look better in the first half with his movement, but tackles Patrick Mekari and Alejandro Villanueva gave up too much ground off the snap. The Ravens are going to have to chip edge rushers to help their tackles out in the future. Grade: C


Running backs

No matter which player is in the starting lineup, these guys are basically just decoys. It didn’t appear that running the ball was a top priority for the Ravens on Sunday. They are basically just shuffling runners in and out to keep them fresh at the end of the game. Latavius Murray, Ty’Son Williams and Devonta Freeman combined for 58 yards on 15 carries. Grade: C


The Ravens need some help with this group. Inside linebackers Malik Harrison and Patrick Queen aren’t physical, and the Ravens aren’t getting outstanding play from outside linebackers Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee, either. The Ravens have no clue in pass defense, and the tackling from this group is atrocious. Grade: D


The Ravens don’t have a dominant cover player. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey plays well at times, but isn’t consistent, especially compared to last season. Reserve cornerback Jimmy Smith made some plays in his first action of the season but isn’t in game shape yet. DeShon Elliott suffered a quad injury and had to leave the game for the second straight week, but fellow safety Chuck Clark led all tacklers with nine. The Ravens have to regroup on the backend on defense. Grade: C

Defensive line

The Ravens were without two starters in nose tackle Brandon Williams and defensive end Derek Wolfe, as well as top reserve Justin Madubuike. Detroit was fairly successful running the ball (93 yards on 17 carries), but the Ravens made some plays at the end to hold the Lions to a field goal with just over a minute to go. Overall, the Ravens didn’t get any game-changing plays from this group. Grade: C

Special teams

Tucker converted four of five field-goal attempts, including an NFL-record 66-yarder to win the game as time expired. Enough said. Grade: A


Most predicted that the Ravens would be mentally prepared for this game, but they weren’t ready to play. A letdown was expected after emotional games against the Las Vegas Raiders and the Kansas City Chiefs, but coach John Harbaugh seemed to have the pulse of this team. The Ravens were sloppy throughout the game on offense and defense Sunday. Fortunately, they were playing the Lions, and Tucker bailed them out. Grade: C-