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Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 38-6 win over Lions | COMMENTARY

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Here’s how the Ravens (5-2) graded out at each position after a 38-6 win over the Detroit Lions (5-2) in Sunday’s Week 7 game at M&T Bank Stadium:

Quarterback

Lamar Jackson completed 21 of 27 passes for 357 yards and three touchdowns. In the first half, he made plays by moving around in the pocket when the pass protection broke down. He made some excellent reads on run-pass options and threw some tight passes into small windows in the end zone. Jackson overthrew several receivers and held onto a handoff to running back Justice Hill, which resulted in a lost fumble, but he also ran for 36 yards on nine carries. He finished with a nearly perfect passer rating of 155.8. Grade: A

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Running backs

The running game usually opens up the passing game, but this time it was totally different. Once Jackson started ripping up the Lions’ secondary, the passing game opened up big holes for the rushing attack. By the second quarter, the Ravens had started to impose their will. Gus Edwards had 64 yards on 14 carries and Hill had 46 on four attempts, including a long of 27 yards. Edwards also had an 80-yard reception in the third quarter. The Ravens finished with 146 yards on 27 carries, an average of 5.4. Grade: A-

Offensive line

Jackson made the offensive line look better than it really was in the first half because he was able to move in the pocket, escape pressure and complete throws. By late in the second quarter, the Lions had pretty much quit. The Ravens did a good job helping right tackle Morgan Moses chip on defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, but Moses worked leverage and was able to get under the 6-foot-7 Hutchinson’s pads. Guards Kevin Zeitler and John Simpson controlled the second level by the third quarter and left tackle Ronnie Stanley played perhaps his best game of the season. Grade: B+

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Receivers

The Lions played extremely soft on the back end, perhaps believing they could get to Jackson before his receivers got downfield. That strategy proved ineffective and costly. Almost every receiver seemed open for the Ravens. Tight end Mark Andrews caught touchdown passes of 11 and 8 yards and rookie receiver Zay Flowers and veteran Odell Beckham Jr. were effective working the middle of the field. Beckham had five catches for 49 yards and Flower had four for 75. Even though Jackson threw for 255 yards in the first half, the Lions continued to play soft coverage in the second. Grade: A

Defensive line

The Lions came into the game ranked eighth in the league in rushing but had only 84 yards, including 13 in the lopsided first half. The Ravens’ starters — Justin Madubuike (three tackles, two quarterback hurries, one sack) and Michael Pierce (two tackles) — as well as reserves Broderick Washington and Brent Urban dominated the Lions, who were supposed to have one of the best offensive lines in the league. The Ravens got a lot of pressure up front, leaving quarterback Jared Goff with little room to step up in the middle and few escape routes. Grade: A

Linebackers

Middle linebacker Roquan Smith said he wanted the Lions to show him how good they were, and his defense showed them up. Smith had eight tackles to lead the way, but he excels just as much in pass coverage. Weakside linebacker Patrick Queen finished with five tackles. Once the Lions fell behind early, Goff became easy prey for the outside linebackers, especially Kyle Van Noy (five tackles, two sacks, two quarterback hurries). The Ravens finished with five sacks and consistently harassed Goff, who appeared to throw more passes away than he completed. Outside linebacker Odafe Oweh showed fresh legs. He hadn’t played since suffering an ankle injury in Week 2 but tallied three tackles, including a sack, to go with a quarterback pressure. Grade: A

Secondary

Where do the Ravens get these stopgap players? They aren’t starters, but guys like cornerback Arthur Maulet and safety Geno Stone step up every week. Detroit was supposed to have one of the best groups of receivers in the league, yet the Ravens allowed only 8.6 yards per catch. They did a good job keeping everything in front of them and coming up to make tackles. The Lions entered the game with 32 plays gaining 20-plus yards, but Detroit managed 337 yards of total offense, almost all of which came in the second half and trailing by multiple touchdowns. Both cornerback Marlon Humphrey and safety Kyle Hamilton played well. Maulet and Hamilton each had seven tackles. Grade: A

Ravens defensive back Brandon Stephens, right, almost intercepts a pass intended for Lions wide receiver Antoine Green in the fourth quarter.

Special teams

Justin Tucker had one field goal of 32 yards but his “pooched” kickoff in the third quarter was questionable. Jordan Stout averaged 56 yards on two punts, which in itself tells how the Ravens dominated the game. Baltimore, though, did allow one punt to be returned 24 yards and a pair of kickoffs for 22 and 19. But at least there wasn’t a punt or extra point attempt blocked from an opposing player coming up the A-gap. Grade: B

Coaching

The Ravens have been criticized for allowing teams to get back into games, especially in the second half, but they outplayed the Lions for a full 60 minutes. Offensive coordinator Todd Monken came up with some new wrinkles on run-pass options and defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald turned in another stellar game plan. There was concern the Ravens might be fatigued after playing three straight games on the road and spending last week in London, but they showed more life than the Lions. The Ravens outhit, outmanned and thoroughly outplayed Detroit. Grade: A


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