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REPORT CARD: Tucker Wins It!

Justin Tucker game winner
Original Photo Courtesy of SkySports
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Tucker Closes it Out With a 43-yard Walkoff FG

It certainly wasn’t the cleanest we’ve seen this offense operate, but it was a good win against a good opponent, and the good guys showed some real heart at the end to top the Cincinnati Bengals 19-17, thanks in large part to the leg of Justin Tucker.

On a night when the team welcomed back Ronnie Stanley, was without Rashod Bateman and saw their star safety exit early with an injury, the team got clutch performances from star players Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews and of course Tucker to nail down the win.

Let’s look at some grades.

Offense: C

They generated 325 yards, only one touchdown and ran out of gas on several other drives, but they did produce when they had to this week, and that deserves some credit. The team was shorthanded with the loss of Bateman, but Devin Duvernay was used creatively, particularly in the first half. JK Dobbins and Kenyan Drake both were able to run the ball well. For an offense that usually succeeds because of its quarterback, there were other players who pulled the weight this game.

Quarterback: C-

Lamar Jackson was not particularly sharp, and missed two relatively easy deep passes for touchdowns to Duvernay and Tylan Wallace, respectively. The interception seemed to float on him, and there were just a few balls he threw low or high that we haven’t seen happen much this season. On the other hand, he led a game-winning drive with less than 2:00 left, and managed to find Andrews for important play after important play. He also used his legs wisely in that second half. That 20-yard run to beat the blitz on the game-winning drive was a huge play in the game.

Running Backs: B

JK Dobbins seems to look better physically every week, and he really showed some “twitch” and power against the Bengals. He had 44 yards, including a 17-yarder, and that third-quarter run when he bounced off Sam Hubbard and picked up the first down was a walk down Memory Lane. Drake contributed 26 and had a big run on that winning drive. The two averaged nearly six yards a rush between them.

Receivers: C

Mark Andrews was Mark Andrews, and that’s an elite playmaker on offense. The fact that he found himself wide-open for the Ravens’ sole touchdown was head-scratching, but Andrews stepped up and had a huge second half. Duvernay was great, running and catching the ball. He had 78 yards of offense, and would have had many more had Jackson hit him down the middle of the field for a sure touchdown. It looked like a lot of the pressure Jackson had was due to coverage, and the overhead shots they put out on television didn’t show a lot of open guys.

Offensive Line: B

They ran the ball well, and Jackson was sacked only one time — though he certainly escaped a few others with his head and his feet. Much of that pressure was after Jackson seemingly couldn’t find a receiver, and he also threw away several other passes. Ronnie Stanley looked pretty good out there, as did Patrick Mekari — who played left tackle on the winning drive. Morgan Moses made a nice pull on one of Dobbins’ early runs, and Mekari had a nice pull on a Jackson run in the third quarter.

[Related Article: Knee-jerk Reactions to Ravens 19-17 Win]

Defense: B

They gave up 291 yards and less than five yards per play against an offense that could have been investigated for aggravated assault against them last year. Twice. There were some missed tackles, but that happens against skilled players. The front seven did what they should have done against a middling offensive line and Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey both turned in nice efforts. That is important for this defense going forward.

Defensive Line: B-

Calais Campbell started out great, ending the first drive by hitting Joe Burrow into an incomplete pass on third down and closing in on Burrow the next drive on Jason Pierre-Paul’s sack. Brent Urban had a nice run stop in the third quarter, and knocked down a pass in the fourth quarter. Justin Madubuike was quiet this game, but Broderick Washington had some nice run stops. They got beat on the ground in the second half as the Ravens left their defensive backs deep, but that felt like collateral damage for the rest of the game plan.

Linebackers: B+

Pierre-Paul was terrific in the first half, and Josh Bynes picked up a second-quarter sack on a well-timed blitz. Malik Harrison had two really solid open-field tackles against Joe Mixon, and Odafe Oweh had an early tackle-for-loss and seemed to do well containing the edge, pushing runs back inside. Patrick Queen had seven tackles and an interception, but there were a few more plays when he overshot runs. The unit was good, overall.

Defensive Backs: B+

Joe Burrow threw for 217 yards, and Ja’Marr Chase averaged 7.1 yards per reception. That’s a good night’s work right there, considering these were the two most prolific abusers of the Ravens’ defense last season. The injury to Marcus Williams is a reason for concern, and rookie Kyle Hamilton had a pass-interference go against him in the third quarter. Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters were good all game. Peters did have a PI against Chase in the third quarter, and Humphrey got beat on a back-shoulder throw in the fourth, but that is it. Peters blew up an attempt at a “Philly Special” and Humphrey was lock-down the whole game. Pepe Williams looked good, outside of a holding call.

Special Teams: A+

Justin Tucker nailed four field goals, including a 58-yarder and a game-winning 43-yarder that couldn’t have been painted any more perfectly in the middle of the uprights. Jordan Stout averaged 39.5 yards on his two punts, but don’t be fooled by those numbers. Both punts were well-done, with one being downed at the 10 and the other at the 16. Good efforts by him. Duvernay didn’t do much with his two returns, but we’ll give him a pass this week.

Coaching: B

I wanted them to take the points this week, and mostly because of how it played out. By pushing it to a six-point game with nearly 10 minutes left in the game, you’d think the worst-case scenario is the Bengals score a touchdown and go up by one. But you’d think you’d have the time to get your team to field-goal range. I didn’t realize the Bengals would take the clock down to the 2:00 warning, but it still worked out. The Ravens went conservative on defense, and it did the job. If the offense was a little more efficient and explosive, this game would have been much more definitive in the Ravens’ direction. I liked that they looked to utilize Duvernay’s unique talents on a night they would be without Bateman, and the run game certainly seems to be coming into form.

5 Responses

  1. As I commented elsewhere, Harbaugh put coached Taylor by taking the points instead of…..chances! In fact, Taylor’s 4th down decision to go for it instead of taking the easy 3 points failed, ultimately leading to their loss by…….2 points! Hopefully, Harbaugh has learned from past mistakes……

    1. I doubt we have seen the last of go for it on 4th down Harbs. I would like to think so but he’s to proud to backtrack. My dad always told me as a kid if everyone is jumping off the roof that does not mean you have to do so too.

  2. Again your coaching grades are to high. I would go with a C although Mac Donalds scheme on defense worked but Harbs urge to go for it on 4th almost gave the win to the Bangles who’s head coach also Bangled it on 4th and goal. Linebackers B+ ? I did not see much from Oweh again for a first round pick he is not impressing me. Thought the D line should have been higher. Old man Campbell and Pierre Paul made some plays and Urban did. Travis Jones has slacked off from preseason superstar. It’s amazing how that happens. On to Wink and the resurging Giants.

  3. The running game is slowing rounding back into 2019 form. The OLine is healthy and solid with good backups. Once Dobbins and Edwards are back at full strength and they can work with Lamar and the Linemen on timing they could be a force. Add the Defense starting to gel a bit and this is what we hope to see as the season rolls on. To me the last piece would be the Pass Rush which will be helped by the return of Bowser and Ojabo allowing us to keep everyone fresh.

Comments are closed.

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