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Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 20-13 wild-card win over Titans | COMMENTARY

Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after Sunday's 20-13 wild-card-round playoff game win over the Tennessee Titans.

Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after a 20-13 win over the host Tennessee Titans on Sunday in the wild-card round:

Quarterback

Lamar Jackson finally won a playoff game for the first time, and he did it in style. Jackson missed some open receivers early and threw an interception, but he rebounded and became the biggest threat in the game. He completed 17 of 24 passes for 179 yards and ran for 136 yards on 16 carries. His 48-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was a turning point. Grade: B+

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Running backs

Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins were complementary players to Jackson, but neither was as dominant as in the previous four weeks. They still managed to combined for 81 yards on 17 carries. There were few holes for either player to run through, but they still gained some tough yards with a strong second effort. The unsung hero of the game might be fullback Patrick Ricard, who threw some great blocks and caught a few passes in the flats. Grade: C+

Offensive line

The Ravens were fairly strong in run blocking, especially left guard Bradley Bozeman when he pulled to his right. He could develop into one of the best guards in the NFL. The Ravens were fine at the point of attack, but for the most part couldn’t knock the Titans off the ball until the second half. The Ravens allowed five sacks to a defense that had only 19 in the regular season, tied for the fewest by a playoff team in NFL history. Grade: C

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Receivers

Receiver Marquise Brown has made a big play in every game for nearly a month and had seven receptions for 109 yards. He was also a factor out of the backfield with two carries for 19 yards. The Ravens should have used him as a running threat earlier in the season. Tight end Mark Andrews had four catches for 41 yards. Again, one of the best receivers was Ricard, who had three catches for 26 yards operating out of the backfield. Grade: B

Defensive line

Here is the bottom line: Titans running back Derrick Henry, who rushed for more than 2,000 yards this season, had only 40 yards on 18 carries. His longest run was 8 yards in the third quarter. Ravens ends Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe (six tackles) and nose tackle Brandon Williams took away running lanes on the inside and made Henry bounce outside. That’s not his specialty. Grade: A

Linebackers

Outside linebackers/ends Pernell McPhee (six tackles) and Matthew Judon (three tackles) played their best run defense as a tandem. Not only did they hold the edge, but they also beat blocks and squeezed down on Henry. They also got more pressure on quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the second half and forced the Titans to send out only two receivers at times because Tennessee needed help in pass protection. The Ravens need to keep defensive end Jihad Ward on the field more. He makes plays every week. The inside linebackers, namely rookie Patrick Queen, can get lost in pass coverage. Grade: A-

Secondary

Cornerback Marlon Humphrey had a tough day but that happens against one of the best receivers in the NFL in A.J. Brown. Overall, the Ravens held their own and safeties DeShon Elliott (four tackles) and Chuck Clark (three tackles) were physical in defending both the run and pass. Tannehill had success early, but the Ravens shut down the Titans offense in the second half. Cornerback Marcus Peters’ late interception sealed the win. Grade: B+

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Special teams

Sam Koch, back from the reserve/COVID-19 list, averaged 50.5 yards on two punts and Justin Tucker hit on field-goal attempts of 33 and 51 yards, but missed a 52-yard try. Tucker seldom makes the same mistake twice, and his plant foot seemed to slip on the 52-yarder. Rookie Devin Duvernay only had one return, taking a kickoff back 20 yards. Grade: B+

Coaching

John Harbaugh had some problems with clock management at the end of the first half, but the Ravens were primed for this game and made some good adjustments at halftime. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman took advantage of the Titans’ poor pass coverage in the flats to open the second half, and defensive coordinator Don Martindale shut down Henry and the Tennessee offense after some early struggles. Grade: A

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