Mike Preston's report card after the Ravens' 21-14 win over the Steelers

Sports columnist Mike Preston gives his position grades for the Ravens' eighth game of the season against the Steelers. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)

Quarterback: Joe Flacco continues to struggle, and his knee or shoulder might not be at full strength. His passes flutter, especially those to the far side of the field. His interception halted one drive and his decision-making was poor. He cost the Ravens at least six points. Grade: C-

Offensive line: The Ravens opened some holes but there was no consistency. The Ravens had only 50 rushing yards, and 12 of those were from Flacco. The Steelers had very little success sacking quarterbacks all season but got three sacks against the Ravens. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley had four penalties, three for holding. Grade: D


Running backs: Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon ran hard, but there were no lanes. There were times where they could have gotten more yards, but both like to cut back too much. West has gotten better as a pass blocker, but he still has a habit of working too high and getting knocked back too far. Grade: D

Receivers: Mike Wallace had four catches for 124 yards including the 95 yarder for a touchdown in the first quarter. Steve Smith was a factor, though not a major contributor, with four catches for 47 yards. The Ravens had a lot of success working the short-to-intermediate areas of the field. Grade: C

Defensive line: The Ravens dismantled the Pittsburgh running game and stymied halfback Le'Veon Bell. The Steelers couldn't get inside the tackles, thanks to Brandon Williams, Lawrence Guy, Timmy Jerningan and Michael Pierce. If this was a street fight, the Ravens punched out the Steelers. Grade: A-

Linebackers: Zachary Orr led all tacklers with 10 while C.J. Mosley had five. Terrell Suggs was credited with only one tackle, but he has a strong presence in the running game because he holds the edge so well. The Ravens also tackled well in the open field. Grade: A-

Secondary: The Ravens kept the Steelers under control for nearly three quarters until Pittsburgh decided to go with the no-huddle and take control of the pace. But the Ravens cornerbacks were physical and even got away with a lot of holding on the back end. Safeties Eric Weddle and Lardarius Webb combined for nine tackles. The Ravens need to work on catching the ball. They could have had four interceptions. Grade: B+

Special teams: Justin Tucker had field goals of 49 and 42 yards. The Ravens, though, are still committing too many penalties and hurting themselves. The Ravens blocked a punt for a touchdown, but that was because Pittsburgh's Sean Davis failed to make a block. Players have been cut for making such big mistakes. As for a returner, the Ravens have to find a new one to replace Devin Hester. Sam Koch dropped five punts inside the 20. Grade: B

Coaching: On the offensive side, the Ravens were a disaster. They couldn't get their personnel on and off the field at the end of the half. Head coach John Harbaugh had poor decisions at the end of the half and the beginning of the third quarter, as far as special teams. If Dean Pees wasn't so strong coordinating the defensive effort, this coaching staff might have cost the Ravens the game. Grade: C

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