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Another Crushing Loss

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In a season full of opportunities lost, the Ravens wrapped up any dreams they might have held for a postseason appearance with a game filled with more lost opportunities.

And it happened against Pittsburgh. At home. Blech.

Let’s take a look at some grades.

Offense

Overall: C-

The run game was terrific, generating 249 yards, but the Ravens only threw for 132 yards in a 2021 NFL game, lost a fumble on a snap and threw two interceptions — one of which came in the opposing end zone. There were also multiple moments of absurdity that bordered on the inane. This was not a good performance.

Quarterback: D

Tyler Huntley was not accurate on the whole today, and he made a few head-scratching decisions along the way. Still, he did make a couple big plays with both his arm and his legs, so it wasn’t a total failure. But both picks were bad, he could have thrown another in overtime, ran into Kevin Zeitler’s backside for a sack in the second quarter and probably should have just fallen on the first-quarter fumble. Huntley has some skills that tantalize, and he put some of those on display today. But he also showed that he still has some growth to make to be a viable starter.

Running Backs: A

Latavius Murray gave off Gus Edwards vibes today, running through arm tackles and getting loose for big gains. He ran for 150 yards and the team’s only touchdown, and was the driving force of the Ravens’ offensive output today. Devonta Freeman once again showed he was quicker than he is fast, and made a few nifty plays. Ty’Son Williams made an appearance for a three-yard run, but I think it was because Murray was exhausted and it was the last snap of the third quarter.

Receivers: D+

Mark Andrews, once again, was very good, collecting 85 yards on eight catches. Marquise Brown had a rough game, dropping a touchdown and allowing a ball to be jarred loose along the sidelines at the end of regulation that could have swung the game in the Ravens’ favor. Rashod Bateman had two early catches, but didn’t do too much after that.

Offensive Line: B

It was a dominant performance on the ground, and the line deserves a ton of credit. On first blush, it appeared Bradley Bozeman and Kevin Zeitler, in particular, were very good. Bozeman did have that awful snap on the fumble on the opening drive, so he gets dinged a little. Patrick Mekari was on and off the field throughout the game, and there was a significant fall-off when he left. They gave up three sacks on the day, and could have given up another couple if Huntley didn’t have his legs, but they weren’t terrible today.

Defense

Overall: C

They only gave up 314 yards on the game, and did some really nice things, but that overtime drive was filled with disappointments. On that drive, Ben Roethlisberger converted a third-and-seven, a third-and-nine and a fourth-and-eight. They ran out of guys, quite frankly, particularly in the backfield as Brandon Stephens was forced to play cornerback, and Jimmy Smith appeared to wear down with a heavy snap load. The run defense, once again, was stellar.

Defensive Line: B

I felt like Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams and Justin Madubuike largely controlled the line of scrimmage. The group doesn’t generate much pass-rush, and that hurts in games like this, but the Ravens big guys usually push around opponents’ big guys, and they mostly did that again today.

Linebackers: C

Patrick Queen had an up and down afternoon, absolutely destroying a Pittsburgh drive in the second quarter, but missing tackles late in the game that helped the Steelers move downfield to score, particularly a chance he had at Najee Harris in overtime when he came up empty. Josh Bynes was active, but got beat bad on a 25-yard completion in the second quarter. Tyus Bowser and Justin Houston each flashed a few times.

Defensive Backs: C

Geno Stone showed a lot of range on his first-quarter interception, and Kevon Seymour largely played a nice game, getting in on a sack and picking up a fourth-quarter tackle-for-loss. Brandon Stephens is a nice player who improved all year, and he made a big tackle late in the fourth quarter to force a punt, but he also dropped a chance at a late pick. Chuck Clark almost made a diving pick, and he had some big hits, especially one in the first quarter to help force a field goal.

Special Teams: B-

Justin Tucker made his kicks, and Devin Duvernay had a couple nice returns, but the Steelers had a 23-yard punt return in the fourth quarter that hurt the Ravens, and Sam Koch threw his first career incompletion on a fake punt. He also didn’t have his best game kicking the ball. Miles Boykin made a nice play downing a punt in the first half.

Coaching: C-

I loved that they recognized the advantage they had with Murray running up the gut and largely stuck with it. But I hated when they threw it for a pick in the end zone after Murray brought them down there, and I was scratching my head with the entire sequence surrounding the fake punt. It was third and four, at the Pittsburgh 47 and the call was for Huntley to run, who picked up two. That had to seem like a possibility there, right? So you have to have been believing you would go for it on fourth… but, instead, they went for a fake punt and put the ball in the hand of their punter? I also didn’t like the handoff to Andrews on third-and-short, or the keeper on third and two with less than 2:00 left, only to go with the tying field goal attempt. Everything felt discombobulated today.

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