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Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 16-14 win over Steelers


Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after a 16-14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Sunday’s Week 14 matchup at Acrisure Stadium.


Two Ravens quarterbacks combined to complete just 11 of 17 passes for 104 yards, but they did what they needed to do to pull out the victory. Starter Tyler Huntley went 8-for-12 for 88 yards and rushed nine times for 31 yards to get the Ravens out of several jams. Backup Anthony Brown completed only 3 of 5 passes for 16 yards after replacing Huntley, who entered the concussion protocol after taking a big hit in the third quarter, but it is hard for a third-string quarterback to have chemistry with the starters when he hasn’t taken repetitions with them during the week. Grade: C-

Running backs

The Ravens hammered one of the better defensive front sevens in the NFL into submission. Pittsburgh couldn’t contain running back J. K Dobbins, who had 120 yards rushing on 15 carries in his first game since Oct. 16, or backup Gus Edwards, who had 66 yards on 13 attempts. They dominated the Steelers in the fourth quarter and closed out the game despite Pittsburgh knowing what was coming. Grade: A

Offensive line

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first. The Steelers had two sacks and they hit Huntley and Brown a combined four times. There were times when Pittsburgh forced Huntley to leave the pocket early, but the Ravens dominated Pittsburgh up front, particularly left guard Ben Powers and left tackle Ronnie Stanley. Center Tyler Linderbaum and right guards Trystan Colon and Ben Cleveland, filling in for injured starter Kevin Zeitler, were successful in controlling tackle Cameron Heyward. Grade: A-


Because of Huntley’s ability to move around in the pocket, he was able to find receivers downfield on busted plays. Demarcus Robinson had five catches for 52 yards, while tight end Mark Andrews had two catches for 19 yards and veteran wideout DeSean Jackson added two catches for 34 yards. The Ravens seem to be in sync with Robinson as far as running the quick out or hitch patterns. Robinson had a 23-yard catch and Jackson added a 25-yard reception, which helped open up the running game. Grade: C

Defensive line

Inside linebacker Roquan Smith gets a lot of credit for improving the Ravens’ defense, but this group has been outstanding and has made both Smith and weak-side linebacker Patrick Queen better. Tackles Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington and end Calais Campbell do an excellent job of holding off or scraping offensive linemen to free Queen and Smith to run and hit. Campbell finished with four tackles and Washington had two. Pittsburgh had only 65 yards on 20 carries. Grade: A


Both Queen and Smith had interceptions in the first half, which halted Pittsburgh drives inside the Ravens’ 25. Both players showed good hands, especially Queen, who has dropped several would-be interceptions in the past. Smith and Queen each finished with six tackles, and outside linebackers Jason Pierre-Paul and Tyus Bowser held the edge well on running plays. Bowser had only one tackle, but it was a sack. Pierre-Paul finished with four tackles. Grade: A


The Ravens are glad that safety Marcus Williams is back in the starting lineup after he missed several games with a hand injury. Williams’ interception at the 1-yard line on a deep pass ended a Pittsburgh drive late in the third quarter, giving him a team-leading four picks on the year. But Pittsburgh victimized cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who was on the outside most of the game, exposing his lack of speed. Cornerback Marcus Peters was solid in coverage, but not willing to come up hard in run support or make tackles after short passes. Grade: D

Special teams

Justin Tucker converted on field goal attempts of 42, 35 and 30 yards to become the Ravens’ all-time leader in points and Campbell blocked a 40-yard field goal attempt from Chris Boswell after special teams coach Chirs Horton moved him to the “A” gap to get closer to the kicker. The Ravens averaged 19.3 yards on three kickoff returns, but they couldn’t get a big return from Devin Duvernay or Justice Hill. Grade: A-


The Ravens needed this type of win against a good, hard-nosed, physical team. They accepted the challenge and overcame a lot of adversity throughout the game. The combination blocking inside was good and offensive coordinator Greg Roman deserves a lot of credit for the scheme. Defensively, the front seven was good again, but the Ravens allowed 329 passing yards and a five-play, 79-yard scoring drive late in the fourth quarter that lasted only 49 seconds. That’s way too easy. Grade: B



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