Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 30-24 OT loss to Titans | COMMENTARY

Mike Preston, The Baltimore Sun
·4 min read

Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after a 30-24 overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium:

Quarterback

Lamar Jackson is good enough to beat most NFL teams, but not consistent enough to win against quality opponents with top coaches. There are times when he makes fantastic throws and other times where he is completely off target. The Ravens’ passing game is limited because Jackson can’t throw outside the numbers, which Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill did in overtime. When playing most teams, Jackson is fun to watch, but it’s an emotional roller coaster against playoff-caliber opponents. Jackson has few weapons, but that wouldn’t improve his accuracy. Grade: B-

Running backs

The coaches are treating the running backs like pitchers on a pitch count. It makes no sense how the Ravens use J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. The rookie Dobbins was the hot runner Sunday, but the coaching stopped feeding the monster at crucial teams. He rushed 15 times for 70 yards and at times took control of the game. The coaching staff, though, took it back by shuffling in Edwards and Mark Ingram II, who combined for 8 yards on five carries. The moves made no sense. Grade: B

Offensive line

The Ravens had a makeshift group and overall turned in a steady performance. Orlando Brown Jr. seems to be a better left tackle than a right one, and left guard Bradley Bozeman and center Patrick Mekari got movement at the line of scrimmage early in the game. But the Ravens had to use Will Holden at right tackle in place of struggling starter D.J. Fluker again, and Holden’s false-start penalty late in the game was a huge setback. The Ravens showed improvement from a week ago, but they won’t get much better as the season progresses. This group is limited. Grade: C

Receivers

The Ravens only have one weapon among this group, and that’s tight end Mark Andrews, who makes some great catches on some of Jackson’s poorly thrown passes. Andrews had five catches for 96 yards and kept the chains moving. The Ravens finally got veteran Dez Bryant involved, but that was basically on short passes because the Titans gave him a big cushion at the line of scrimmage. The rest of the receivers, including Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin and Devin Duvernay, were non-factors in the game. Grade: C-

Defensive line

Derrick Henry rushed for 133 yards on 28 carries, but most of his production came in the second half as the Ravens defense wore down because of their inconsistent offense. However, the tackles, especially Justin Ellis (three tackles), kept Titans offensive linemen off the inside linebackers for most of the game. The Ravens also got a strong rush from defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who had a strip-sack and put consistent pressure on Tannehill. End Derek Wolfe (six tackles) has played well in recent weeks and turned in another strong effort. Grade: B

Linebackers

After rookie inside linebackers Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison struggled a week ago against the New England Patriots, the assumption here was that they would have similar problems with Tennessee’s downhill rushing attack. But they played reasonably well, and it appeared as if the Ravens moved them closer to the line of scrimmage and used more run blitzes. Queen finished with nine tackles and Harrison had seven. Their biggest problem was being exposed in coverage because they are both still liabilities defending the pass. Grade: C+

Secondary

It was only a matter of time before the Ravens paid for trying to force turnovers instead of tackling the ball carrier. Cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters and safeties DeShon Elliott and Chuck Clark missed a lot of open field tackles, which resulted in first downs or touchdowns. The missed tackles might have been the biggest reason the Ravens lost. Coverage wise, the Ravens were solid in the first half but played soft in the second. Peters has to stop biting on inside routes. It’s time for these guys to go back to fundamentals. Grade: C-

Special teams

Running back Justice Hill was excellent in coverage and had two tackles. Overall, the Ravens held Tennessee’s return game in check, though they did allow a kick return of 19 yards. Somehow the Ravens were clueless on the Titans’ fake punt attempt late in the first half, even though Tennessee had backup quarterback Logan Woodside lined up as the upback. Justin Tucker was 2-for-2 on field-goal attempts of 30 and 27 yards. Grade: B+

Coaching

The Ravens came out flat even though the coaches were involved in a pregame exchange of words with the Titans. Offensively, the Ravens have to get away from this running back-by-committee approach and allow either Dobbins or Edwards — whoever is hot at the time — to control the pace. Defensively, the Ravens had no answers for the Titans in the fourth quarter and overtime. Top-ranked defenses make big stops in crunch time, not give up touchdowns. Grade: C-

———

©2020 The Baltimore Sun

Visit The Baltimore Sun at www.baltimoresun.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.