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Mike Preston's grades for the Ravens against the Steelers

The offense gets high marks. The defense does not.

Quarterback

Joe Flacco started out slow, and he was poor in the first half. He was inaccurate early and held on to the ball too long. But he became more comfortable in the second half and started to get into rhythm. The third-quarter touchdown pass to Steve Smith Sr. was a beauty, and Flacco missed some throws in the fourth period he should have made, but he was good in crunch time. Grade: B-

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Offensive line

The Ravens had 368 yards of total offense, and the line played well enough to have good balance. Pittsburgh did get some pressure on Flacco in the first half, but for the most part, the Ravens kept Flacco upright. Grade: B-

Running backs

There were times when Kenneth Dixon just took over the game in the second half with some strong runs. By the third quarter, he and running mate Terrance West had started to wear down the Steelers. Seldom was either stopped after first contact. Dixon finished with 57 yards on 12 carries, and West had 27 yards on 10 attempts. Grade: B

Receivers

Smith had a good game for the Ravens, with seven catches for 79 yards. But there were times when Flacco and other receivers had poor timing. Breshad Perriman and Darren Waller both dropped big passes in the fourth quarter. Waller's drop cost the Ravens a touchdown. Grade: C

Defensive line

This group has disappointed the past three games. Except for tackle Brandon Williams, the Ravens couldn't get off blocks, and even he struggled making several tackles after 3- or 4-yard gains. End Timmy Jernigan has virtually disappeared from games. Grade: D

Linebackers

The Ravens were pounded early in the first quarter by Pittsburgh's running game, but they controlled the tempo for the next two periods. The Ravens couldn't stop running back Le'Veon Bell on cutback runs, and they didn't get much pressure on Ben Roethlisberger from their outside linebackers. Inside linebackers C.J. Mosley and Zachary Orr combined for 16 tackles and two interceptions. Grade: C-

Secondary

The Ravens played well for three quarters but were confused as to how to stop the Steelers' no-huddle offense in the fourth quarter. Safety Lardarius Webb has played well in the past three weeks, but the Ravens need to get faster at both safety positions. Pittsburgh did basically whatever it wanted on offense late in the game Grade: C

Special teams

Justin Tucker converted on four field-goal attempts, but one was botched because of a bad snap. The Ravens should have made their changes at punt and kickoff return earlier in the season, because they're now winning the field-position game. Grade: B+

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Coaching

The Ravens called some decent plays on offense but don't have the personnel to execute. Defensively, the Ravens had Pittsburgh stymied for nearly three quarters, but once the Steelers opened up the offense, the Ravens couldn't match the pace or intensity. Overall, the team was mentally and physically ready to perform, but it couldn't make the needed plays in crunch time. Grade: B

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