Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston's Ravens-Saints report card


The Ravens took the ball out of Joe Flacco's hands, which is a good thing this time of year. Flacco had some nice touch passes in the first half, but basically became a manager of the game completing only 10 of 20 passes for 172 yards. Flacco, though, did throw for two touchdowns and didn't have an interception. Grade: C+

Running backs

Halfback Ray Rice had 31 carries and 153 yards on the ground and another five catches for 80 yards. He made some great runs off cutbacks, and made some holes when there weren't any. On one short pass, he broke six tackles running down the sideline. Willis McGahee complemented Rice well. Grade: A

Offensive line

The Ravens did a nice job of sealing off the backside on running plays when the Saints blitzed. This group was also good at the point of attack, and stayed with their blocks. Usually, the Ravens run left, but it was balanced against the Saints. Rice made the offensive line look better than it really was, and pass blocking was OK considering how much the Saints blitz. Grade: B


There are going to be some mad prima donnas at The Castle Monday. Just joking. Derrick Mason had only one catch for 42 yards and Anquan Boldin had one for 2 yards. All joking aside, these guys blocked well downfield, and it was nice seeing rookie tight end Ed Dickson get a touchdown pass. Grade: C

Defensive line

End Cory Redding played his best game as a Raven and was perhaps the team's best pass rusher. The Ravens finally got some pressure from inside. End/tackle Haloti Ngata continues to have a great season and dominated inside as well. Nose guard Kelly Gregg didn't register a tackle. The Ravens got some strong pressure on quarterback Drew Brees. Grade: B


Inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe was finally released from the doghouse and finished with six tackles. It's about time. This may have been this group's best game. Inside linebacker Jameel McClain played well, and outside linebackers Jarret Johnson and Terrell Suggs provided constant pressure. Ray Lewis has problems in pass coverage on third downs. Grade: B


The Ravens gave up some plays but were very physical after catches. New Orleans receivers were very timid in the second half. Cornerback Lardarius Webb has made significant progress in the past two weeks, and cornerback Chris Carr was steady as usual. This was one of this group's better tackling games. Grade: C+

Special teams

Billy Cundiff converted three field goals and Webb has given the Ravens a big play on punt returns the past two weeks. Punter Sam Koch had two punts inside the 20-yard line. The loss of kick off returner David Reed with a concussion could be big for this team. Grade: B+

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