Inside the Ravens with Aaron Wilson

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

TEST SCORES ARE IN: Ravens avoid Texas-sized collapse


Quarterback: B-minus

Joe Flacco delivered a strong performance with accurate spirals and sound decisions. However, he was sacked five times and slowed down in the second half with only seven completions and no scores. He seemed more mindful of the pass rush and decisively picked out his targets. He completed 22 of 33 passes for 235 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 107.5 passer rating.

Running back: C

Ray Rice and the running game didn't have a big impact on the game other than keeping the Texans' defense honest. He rushed for 54 yards on 19 carries, catching eight passes for 66 yards. Le'Ron McClain blocked well in his return from a sprained left ankle that forced him to miss the Steelers game, but displayed some signs of rust. Willis McGahee scored a rare touchdown on a goal-line run.

Receiver: B-plus

Derrick Mason redeemed himself after an early drop, catching two touchdown passes in the first half. He caught one over the middle with his fingertips and got both feet down in bounds. Then, he dashed up the left sideline on a 26-yard score. Mason provided most of the offense downfield with Anquan Boldin facing bracket coverage from the Texans' suspect pass defense. Boldin was limited to three receptions for 41 yards. Starting in place of tight end Todd Heap, rookie Ed Dickson had only one catch for seven yards.

Offensive line: C

The pass protection was shoddy overall, allowing a season-high five sacks and nine quarterback hits. That's 13sacks in the past three games and 22 sacks in the past six contests. Michael Oher has a bad case of offsides, committing his seventh false start of the season.

Defensive line: C-plus

Cory Redding had one sack, five tackles and three quarterback hits. Haloti Ngata had three tackles. Kelly Gregg had an uncharacteristically quiet game with no tackles. Terrence Cody and Brandon McKinney were nonfactors.

Linebacker: C-plus

Terrell Suggs posted his 10th sack of the season. The Ravens struggled in pass coverage against Owen Daniels, but he dropped several passes to curtail his impact. He caught five passes for 91 yards by the fourth quarter, but was targeted nine times. Middle linebacker Ray Lewis had nine tackles. The Ravens mostly contained MVP candidate Arian Foster as he rushed for 100 yards on 20 carries, but gained 16 of them on the first run. They abandoned the run once they fell behind. Jarret Johnson had an average game and had trouble getting off blocks.

Secondary: C

Josh Wilson intercepted quarterback Matt Schaub and returned it 12 yards in overtime for the game-winning touchdown. This grade would have been lower if not for Wilson's clutch play. They allowed a long touchdown pass to Andre Johnson on a botched coverage by free safety Ed Reed, who tried in vain to leap for a pass thrown over his head. Johnson finished with nine receptions for 140 yards and two touchdowns, heating up as the game went on. However, if the Texans could catch the football, this game could have been a different story altogether. They dropped a ton of Schaub's passes, derailing early attempts he made to get the offense going.

Special teams: B-plus

Rookie wide receiver David Reed set a franchise record with a 103-yard kickoff return for a score. Sam Koch averaged 45 yards per punt. Lardarius Webb averaged 12 yards per punt return. Billy Cundiff leads the NFL in touchbacks, booming his kickoffs deep into the end zone. The kick coverage was inconsistent.

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