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Mike Preston's report card after the Ravens' 20-12 victory over the Buccaneers

Quarterback: Lamar Jackson started off slowly but got better as the game went on. He is limited in the types of throws he can make and usually has to throw in the middle of the field because he doesn’t have the arm strength to go outside. But his athletic ability to make plays outside the pocket is great asset for a team that struggles in pass blocking. Grade: B-

Running backs: Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon were steady, and their straight-ahead styles wore down the Buccaneers. Dixon seemed to put some fight into the Ravens with a strong run early in the second quarter. Both players have fresh legs and can wear teams down because neither played much in the first half of the season. They fit the Ravens’ grind-it-out-personality on offense. Grade: B

Offensive line: Left tackle Ronnie Stanley allows Jackson to get outside on option plays. The Ravens got a strong effort from right guard Marshal Yanda, and right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. is solid, but the Ravens need help in the middle with center Matt Skura and left guards James Hurst and Bradley Bozeman. The pass protection wasn’t good, and this group is saved by Jackson’s mobility when the pocket breaks down. Grade: B-

Receivers: Jackson is limited to the middle of the field on most passing plays, so he is relying on slot receiver Willie Snead IV to get open. Snead had five catches for 58 yards and kept drives alive with key receptions. Tight ends were involved in the passing offense Sunday after taking the week off against Kansas City. There was a Hayden Hurst sighting. The 2018 first-round pick had three catches for 20 yards. The run blocking has been and continues to be strong. Grade: C

Defensive line: It was surprising the Buccaneers ran on the Ravens with success early in the game. Tampa Bay rushed 21 times overall for 85 yards, and a lot of those yards were directly up the gut. But midway through the third quarter and into the fourth tackles Michael Pierce and Brandon Williams started to dominate. Williams finished with four tackles and had one big hit in the final quarter. Pierce had three tackles and one quarterback hit. Grade: C+

Linebackers: C.J. Mosley led the team in tackles with eight, including a half sack, and he also got a hit on quarterback Jameis Winston. Strong-side linebacker Matthew Judon kept everything inside the tackles. Judon, Za’Darius Smith and fellow outside linebacker Terrell Suggs did a good job in sniffing out Tampa Bay screens and keeping the ball carriers inside, where the pursuit could catch up. Grade: B

Secondary: The Ravens smothered the top passing offense in the NFL holding Tampa Bay to 156 passing yards. Before the game, the Buccaneers were averaging 331.4. The Ravens gave up a 64-yard reception to Mike Evans who had four catches for 121 yards, but cornerbacks Jimmy Smith, Marlon Humphrey and Brandon Carr shadowed Tampa Bay receivers all over the field. Humphrey, who knocked down four passes and intercepted one, was the best corner on the field, though he did get some help from Winston, who stared down receivers. Grade: A

Special teams: Justin Tucker converted on field goals of 24 and 35 yards. The Ravens were able to overcome some stupid penalties early in the game. The bonehead play of the week was the fumbled punt by Cyrus Jones. It was such a poor play that even coach John Harbaugh declined to comment and said it was time to just move on. The Buccaneers averaged 22.5 yards on kickoff returns. Grade: C

Coaching: Every week it seems that it takes offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg time to get into the flow of a game. But usually by the second quarter he has his plan of attack figured out and he always seems to come up with some new wrinkles. On defense the Ravens did a nice job of containing Winston, even though he doesn’t run as much anymore. Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale continues to have his corners be aggressive and play press coverage. Grade: B

mike.preston@baltsun.com

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