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Mike Preston's Report Card

Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 37-26 win over Patriots | COMMENTARY

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after a 37-26 win over the New England Patriots in Week 3 on Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

Quarterback

Lamar Jackson ran for 107 yards on 11 carries and completed 18 of 29 passes for 218 yards and four touchdowns. During most of the game, he was the team’s entire offense, but he also missed some open receivers and struggled in the second quarter when he stopped stepping into his throws. His touchdown pass to tight end Mark Andrews in the second quarter was underthrown and could easily have been intercepted. On this team, however, he is the difference-maker. Grade: B

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Running backs

For the first time this season, the Ravens earned some respect. Fourth-year player Justice Hill had shown gradual improvement in the first two weeks and finished with 60 yards on six carries Sunday, but he also struggled in pass protection. Playing in his first game since suffering a knee injury in last year’s preseason finale, J.K. Dobbins recorded 23 yards on seven carries and caught two passes for 17 yards. The running game got stronger in the second half and Dobbins even made some defenders miss or ran through them. Grade: C

Offensive line

The Ravens struggled in the first half, especially after left tackle Patrick Mekari went down with an ankle injury and had to be replaced by rookie Daniel Faalele. The offensive line allowed four sacks, but this group got in a rhythm in the second half, especially with Jackson darting off tackle on running plays. The Ravens still need to be more consistent run blocking, as Hill’s 34-yard carry accounted for most of the running backs’ production. Grade: C+

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Receivers

New England coach Bill Belichick is famous for taking away the opposing team’s top offensive weapons, but he couldn’t slow down Jackson nor Andrews, who had eight catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns. The receivers weren’t much of a factor until the second half but made some big plays when it mattered most. Rashod Bateman finished with two catches for 59 yards and Devin Duvernay had two catches for 25 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone to extend the Ravens’ lead late in the third quarter. Grade: C+

Defensive line

The Patriots finished with 447 yards of total offense, including 145 rushing yards on 28 attempts. That’s pretty concerning, especially since New England’s longest carry went for 18 yards. . Justin Madubuike (one sack, two tackles for loss) was dominant in the second half after struggling in the first and fellow defensive end Calais Campbell turned in a solid effort, but nose tackle Broderick Washington got pushed off the ball consistently. The Ravens also lost nose tackle Michael Pierce to a left arm injury. The Patriots weren’t cute; they just ran straight ahead. Grade: D

Linebackers

It’s a toss-up between which position group is worse, the linebackers or the secondary. Inside linebacker Josh Bynes led the team in tackles with 10, but a lot of those were away from the line of scrimmage. Both he and weak-side linebacker Patrick Queen (five tackles, one sack) had trouble getting off blocks. Outside linebacker Odafe Oweh finished with five tackles but still wasn’t much of a threat as a pass rusher, which was supposed to be his forte coming out of college. Veteran outside linebacker Justin Houston went down with a groin injury and didn’t return. Grade: D

Secondary

Cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters each contributed to game-saving turnovers in the fourth quarter, but the Ravens allowed 321 passing yards to second-year quarterback Mac Jones, who often threw behind or late to his receivers. Rookie cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis started the game but quickly earned a spot on the bench after getting beat twice in the first quarter. Safety Marcus Williams covers a lot of ground on the back end for the Ravens, but he’s not Superman. Grade: D

Special teams

Duvernay has become a weapon on special teams, as evidenced by his 43-yard punt return in the second half. Justin Tucker made a 53-yard field goal late in the game but missed an extra-point attempt after the team’s final touchdown. Rookie Jordan Stout also shanked a punt in crunch time, his second in three games this season. He might need a little more tutoring from assistant special teams coach and former Ravens punter Sam Koch. Grade: B

Coaching

There are times when offensive coordinator Greg Roman dials up plays that make the Ravens look unbeatable and other times when it appears to be streetball. First-year defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald also has to improve his unit after another shaky performance. Coach John Harbaugh might have to take a harder look at defensive backs coach Chris Hewitt. Something is missing on the back end of this defense. Grade: C+

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter Sunday against the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

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