RAVENS REPORT CARD: Ravens 18 Lions 16

cjimmy

Words cannot describe the level of heart palpitations that I experienced into the waning hours of Monday night.  At first, I was so uncomfortable with the fact that the defense gave up yet another late, 4th quarter touchdown.  However, I had to constantly remind myself that this is how the Ravens do things.  Many have said it and it is so true: the Ravens don’t panic and thrive under pressure.

 

Offensive Grades

Overall, I thought the offense was fairly average last night.  They didn’t make a lot of mistakes and they didn’t turn the ball over.  Against a swarming, attacking defense like Detroit, turning the ball over would have been a probable death sentence.  They made plays in the passing game when they had to, they ran the ball fairly well (albeit, not great) and the offensive line did about as good of a job as you can ask against two of the best defensive tackles in the NFL.

Overall grade: B.

Individual Offensive Notes

I don’t know what is going on with Eugene Monroe, but he hasn’t played well the past few weeks.  He is a good player, but one has to wonder if he was worth the sacrifice of two mid-round draft picks for a guy who they may not even want to re-sign after this season.  Considering Gino Gradkowski performed admirably against Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh for much of the game, there is no reason that Monroe should have had as many issues as he did.  I’ll wait for FilmStudy’s analysis, but in my opinion, Monroe was the worst lineman yesterday by far.  I’d grade him a D at best.

Can you guys imagine what this team would be like without Joe Flacco?  That guy was hit a lot and hit hard yesterday, yet he came back for more and made some incredible throws.  Flacco didn’t turn the ball over and completed about 53% of his passes for 222 yards.  There were at least two different passes that could have gone for touchdowns – one that Marlon Brown misjudged and let go through his hands and the other just a great defensive play by Detroit’s Jonte Green on a pass to Torrey Smith.  Considering Flacco’s knee injury late in the game and that he was able to make that throw to Jacoby Jones on a crucial 3rd and long, I’d definitely give him an A.

As for Torrey Smith – first, I have to congratulate him for becoming the first Ravens receiver since Derrick Mason to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving.  There were three distinct plays yesterday that make me think that Smith – as good as he is – will likely never truly develop into a true #1 receiver. Granted, this offense doesn’t necessarily need a “#1 receiver”, but after three seasons I would expect both Torrey’s ability to adjust to passes and his on-field awareness to be a lot better than they seem to be.

The first instance was the deep pass down the left sideline.  Torrey was covered by Rashean Mathis who he had effectively driven towards the middle of the field leaving a solid 3-5 yard cushion between Torrey and the sideline.  Flacco’s pass was perfectly placed between Torrey and the sideline and instead of adjusting to the pass, Torrey swung his arm over Mathis’ helmet and then stretched out one hand for the pass as it fell incomplete.  To me, it looked like Torrey was trying to draw a pass interference flag.

The second instance came on the same side of the field and Torrey was given a huge cushion from Mathis (at least 10-12 yards).  Torrey sprinted, did a double move to try and draw Mathis up and then Torrey sprinted further down the field.  Now, Torrey didn’t sell the stop route very well, so Mathis didn’t come back to him at all.  However, when Torrey stopped Mathis was still a good 8-10 yards behind Torrey.  Had he just stayed there and let Flacco hit him on the stop route, Torrey would have had a big first down and then some.

The third instance came on the right side of the field, late in the game.  Flacco saw single-high coverage by the safety with the corner (Jonte Green) cheating towards the inside.  Flacco snapped the ball and quickly fired it out to Torrey who was busy blocking down on Green.  Now, that could be a lack of communication, but Flacco clearly saw something in the secondary that made him think that Torrey could have made a big play there and Torrey just wasn’t on the same page at all.  Still, Torrey made some big plays in the middle of the field, so overall I’d give him a B- performance.

 

Defensive Grades  

Even though the defense gave up a big drive late in the game, I actually thought this was Baltimore’s best defensive game this season.  Holding a team like Detroit to 16 total points and 345 total yards at home is really, really impressive.  I’m still wondering where Suggs and Doom are because they’ve been relatively quiet in the sack department over the last few weeks, but they put enough pressure on Matt Stafford to make him throw a number of errant passes.  When you win the turnover battle, you win football games.  This defense has had a tough time coming up with interceptions for much of the season, so getting three interceptions was a huge factor in this win.

I’d give the defense an A- for their effort yesterday.

Individual Defensive Notes

Many of us just put palms over our face when the media started running with Matt Elam’s commentary on Calvin Johnson being “old.”  In reality, Elam’s comments about age were really light hearted.  I’m really glad he picked up his play as the game went on, because for much of the first quarter it looked like he was going to have to eat his words.  Getting his first interception to seal the victory was icing on the cake.  It was a great day from Elam and probably his best defensive performance of the season.  Grade: A.

Calvin Johnson had 6 receptions and 98 yards.  By normal standards, that would be a pretty good day for a receiver.  However, for any defense to hold him to less than 100 yards is a great accomplishment.  I started a thread on the Russell Street Report Forums about how I never quite understood why Dean Pees keeps the cornerbacks exclusively on either side of the field.  Unless the corner was playing nickel (Webb), they pretty much played on one side or the other.  Needless to say, I was very pleased to see Jimmy Smith covering Johnson for the whole game.  Jimmy did a fantastic job and kept Johnson locked down for most of the game.  Everyone knew that Johnson was going to rack up yards, but Jimmy played physical with him and he had a tough time all game.  Jimmy absolutely deserves an A+.

 

Special Teams Grades 

If it wasn’t for special teams, the Ravens wouldn’t have won.  It wasn’t just Justin Tucker’s incredible night either; it was also coverage and Jacoby’s punt and kick returns.  Special Teams flat out deserves an A+.

Individual Special Teams Notes

I’d like to take this moment and congratulate Justin Tucker on setting a franchise record for longest field goal.  At 61 yards, that is one of the longest field goals ever made in a regular season game in the history of the NFL, and the longest ever made indoors.  The current record of 64 yards was set a few weeks ago by Matt Prater in Denver.  Tucker currently leads the league in made field goals with 35.  He is arguably one of the top 3 players on the Ravens this year and is well deserving of an A+.

Final Thought

The Ravens are 8-6 with games against the Patriots and Bengals coming up.  The Bengals have a tendency to cave in big games and the Patriots are not the same team without Rob Gronkowski.  Each of those games is winnable and if the Ravens win out, they would win the AFC North division and secure a top-4 seed in the playoffs.  What started out as a very lackluster and disappointing season has quickly evolved into a very exciting time for the Baltimore Ravens.

This entry was posted in Blog View, Featured, Report Card by Paul Lukoskie. Bookmark the permalink.

About Paul Lukoskie

Paul Lukoskie
Paul (aka WickedSolo) has been an avid football fan since he was a little kid. As former player himself (through college only...turning pro and having million dollar contracts and fame just sounded too overwhelming...or he's just a 5'11" 200lb guy who was only good enough to play D-3 ball...but who's...more

18 Raves on “RAVENS REPORT CARD: Ravens 18 Lions 16

  1. Mark Mackay on said:

    Great Recap of the contributions. Agree wholly and glad that we watched the same game. I do however believe that the patriots will still be a challenge even although its at home..

  2. Clement on said:

    As an avid ravens fan where football isn’t quite popular, i thoroughly enjoy reading your articles.
    However, I believe your grades today are not objective and poorly reflect the performance of our players on the field.
    The offense does not deserve the B. I understand they made plays when it mattered, but no touchdowns should be equal to a C+, or B- at most.
    Regarding the defense, giving 16 points on an away game is indeed an accomplishment. Giving a touchdown in the final minutes and on the opening drive isn’t. We have been able to overcome those mishaps lately, unfortunately we will lose if we can’t keep teams out of our endzone at the end of games. B it is, then.
    On the special teams- no argument there. 6 field goals, a crucial Jacoby return, good coverage on punts… they absolutely deserve the A+.
    On a more personal note- I am very much interested in taking an active part and writing for this blog. I would of course write voluntarily and on the topic. Therefore I give you my e-mail address where we can pursue a chat privately, if it pleases the owner.
    Regards,
    Clement

    • Paul on said:

      Considering the offensive issues that they have had all season long, I’ll take a performance like today against a defensive front-7 as good as Detroit’s. Additionally, they were on the road (which hasn’t yielded a lot of offensive success) and they took care of the ball. They definitely left some touchdowns on the field today. No doubt about that. However, they sustained drives and got into position for Tucker to put up field goals. They did what they had to do. That’s why I graded them the way that I did.

      Defensively, this was the best game of the season IMO. I’m not excited about the fact that the D gives up points and cant get off the field late in the game, but they held a team that is ranked 9th in points scored (Detroit averages just under 26 points per game) to 16 points. That’s pretty damn good no matter how you look at it.

      • CrabbyPatty on said:

        I agree with Paul. The Ravens may not have scored any touchdowns last night, but they did score six times to Detroit’s three. They were able to do this because, as Paul said, they were able to sustain drives and get into field goal range consistently.

      • Clement on said:

        Hey paul,
        I agree that the ravens played a good game compared to other games this year, especially the front 7. However, are we to grade the ravens performances compared to themselves, or compared to a universal standard of performence? 0-3 in the redzone is not a good offensive performance- no matter how you look at it.Getting into field goal range might be good enough, but it is not the standard of a good performance. Not turning the ball over is a good thing, especially on the road, but this should be the standard. Not being bad does not automatically makes you good.
        Defense did good, but A- is more than good. The grade A should be reserved for outstanding performances.

          • Clement on said:

            Again I will say that I truly believe the ravens did good. There is no doubt about it. Holding the home team to 16 points, good coverage on Megatron throughout most of the game (luckily he also dropped a few that could’ve gone a long way). All in all, we weren’t pushovers.
            About the interceptions, they’re more about the quarterback and recievers than about the D. The second INT bounced off reggie bush, the third was completely overthrown.
            Taking all the factors into consideration, I stand by previous statement about the defense having a B type of game. Which is undoubtedly good- just not brilliant.

    • Anonymous on said:

      also letsnot get carried away with the play of our defensive secondary…..if megatron didnt drop a bunch of balls when he was wide open, would we be having the same conversation?

  3. Dustin R on said:

    I would like to see how Johnsons numbers actually looked when Smith lined up man to man. Maybe I’m wrong but it seems to me that the majority of Johnson’s yards came in the zone or when he was covered by someone other then Smith. Am I right on this?

    • Paul on said:

      Absolutely.

      Johnson made a couple of big plays and if I recall correctly he had about 3 receptions that gained large chunks of yards. One of those was an inside slant, which is nearly impossible to defend considering Megatron’s wingspan and speed. The other two came when Jimmy Smith was playing shallow zone and Ihedigbo had over the top zone coverage. There was just an area of about 10-15 yards between the two and Stafford exposed it.

      The reality is the Ravens just aren’t a very good zone team. They’ve really never been a good zone team and the lack of a consistent pass rush makes it worse. Jimmy’s best skills are as a press-man corner.

  4. SirJazz on said:

    Big ups to JT for the winning kick. But for as much scrutiny Jimmy Smith has been under, he gets my game ball. Excellent work on keeping Megatron in check..

  5. Norman Karol on said:

    Agree with Dustin. The catches made by CJ were with the corners peeling away after he passed their area indicating zone. Wholly surprised and kudos to the front line keeping their All-Pro def line in check. Virtually after every catch didn’t CJ head to the sideline with a grimace and not a smile? He paid dearly for every catch by some ferocious hits. Great time to see J.Smith and L.Webb playing so well.

  6. paulie on said:

    LoL. Don’t be too hard on Eugene. He’s next to AQ and I’m pretty sure it gets kind of lonely out there on the island with no help.

    • Paul on said:

      I’m sure there is some truth to this because Shipley is really bad.

      One play that resonates with me was when Devin Taylor (Detroit’s rookie DE) came in completely unblocked. Monroe blocked down onto Shipley’s guy and no one saw Taylor make a b-line straight for Flacco’s blind side.

      That has a lot to do with communication and making sure the correct line adjustments/calls are made. However, Monroe is no dummy and has been around the block a few times. He should have recognized that and adjusted himself or brought it to the attention of Gino and/or Flacco so they could make the adjustment.

      • ravensean509@gmail.com on said:

        The annoying part is that issue has popped up all year. Where you can visually see an overload blitz or a potential free run and we fail to adjust, let alone make teams pay for it. Steve Mcnair use to be a master at this as a titan. See the blitzer and go right to his man or vacated area in coverage.

    • ravensean509@gmail.com on said:

      I tend to agree. Outside of the one play he blocked inward and allowed a free run on the outside, i thought he played pretty well. Outside of the bears game where peppers got the best of him, that’s pretty much true since we got him. Significant upgrade on mckinnie. I’ll bet he grades out pretty well again and for the year.

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