Baltimore Sun

Passing game is all A’s, but the defense subpar

- By Mike Preston

Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after a 31-25 overtime win over the Indianapol­is Colts in Week 5 at M&T Bank Stadium:


Lamar Jackson ran the no-huddle offense well in the second half, which helped the Ravens get back in the game after trailing 22-3. He was inaccurate in the first half, but he found his rhythm in the final two quarters to complete 86% of his passes. The Colts might have gone to a prevent defense too early, and Jackson ate it up. He still needs to learn to tuck the ball away when running the ball — the fumble at the 1-yard line was inexcusabl­e — but the Ravens are never out of any game as long as he is on the field. Jackson threw for a career-high and franchise-record 442 yards and added a team-high 62 rushing yards. Grade: A

Running backs

There was speculatio­n before the game that a team was interested in trading for one of the Ravens’ running backs, but that’s hard to believe. This group has had very little impact; there isn’t a home run hitter among them. But it’s just not the fault of Latavius Murray, Ty’Son Williams, Devonta Freeman and Le’Veon Bell. The Ravens can’t open holes at the point of attack and sustain them for long. Grade: D


It took the Ravens one half to finally get Marquise Brown into the game, but he opened up some things in the second half and scored the game-winning touchdown in overtime. With tight end Mark Andrews dominating the middle of the field, he and Brown worked well in tandem. Sammy Watkins, Devin Duvernay and James Proche II made some contributi­ons, but Andrews and Brown were dominant down the stretch. Grade: A

Offensive line

The Ravens like to talk about balance, and they had it for most of this game. But they couldn’t run or pass block successful­ly until midway through the third quarter. The interior of the offensive line, especially guards Kevin Zeitler, Ben Cleveland and Ben Powers, struggled, and the play at left guard was extremely poor. Rookie Ben Cleveland also left the game with a knee injury. Jackson made a lot of plays on his own because of his ability to improvise when dropping back to pass. Grade: C


Indianapol­is picked on cornerback Anthony Averett, and it’s the first time he struggled all season filling in for Marcus Peters. But the Colts had receivers open most of the night and the Ravens’ safeties gave very little support on the long ball. Safety Chuck Clark, one of the most reliable players on defense, missed quite a few tackles. Besides Averett, the Colts had success going against rookie defensive back Brandon Stephens. The penalty on Tavon Young late in the game almost cost dearly. Grade: D


The poor tackling by inside linebacker­s Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison is becoming a weekly problem. At least it takes a lot to move Harrison off the ball. Queen misses tackles because he doesn’t get his feet under him and is out of control. Rookie outside linebacker Odafe Oweh continues to make plays, but he needs some help from veterans Justin Houston and Pernell McPhee. Grade: D

Defensive line

This group has been strong against the run all season, but the Colts, despite having an injury-depleted offensive line, moved the Ravens off the ball. Instead of going straight at the Ravens, Indianapol­is attacked them off tackle and got a lot of yardage bouncing the ball outside because the Ravens couldn’t hold the edge. Cutback runs work against Baltimore because of its strong pursuit angles. Grade: C

Special teams

The Colts have had problems with punt protection most of the season, but the Ravens couldn’t block one in a game in which they desperatel­y needed a big play on special teams. Duvernay made good decisions as a returner and gets better every week. Eventually, he is going to break one. This was one of the few games in which kicker Justin Tucker didn’t have a significan­t impact, but the Ravens’ coverage units played well on kickoffs and punts. Calais Campbell’s blocked field-goal attempt late in the fourth quarter gave the Ravens a chance to tie the game. Duvernay also returned the opening kickoff in overtime 27 yards to kick-start the game-winning touchdown drive. Grade: B


The Ravens opened up the offense in the second half, which they needed to do to have any chance of coming back. Offensive coordinato­r Greg Roman attacked the entire field and used some deception to slow the Colts, who have a lot of speed on defense. Defensivel­y, the Colts had coordinato­r Don “Wink” Martindale and the Ravens off balance all night, especially with bootlegs and waggles. The Ravens weren’t ready to play and weren’t physical. Grade: C

 ?? KARL MERTON FERRON/BALTIMORE SUN ?? Justin Houston (50) sacks Colts quarterbac­k Carson Wentz on Monday in the fourth quarter in Baltimore.
KARL MERTON FERRON/BALTIMORE SUN Justin Houston (50) sacks Colts quarterbac­k Carson Wentz on Monday in the fourth quarter in Baltimore.

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