Ravens report card vs. Packers

Grading the Baltimore Ravens in their 19-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers:

Quarterback: Joe Flacco was once again put in some bad situations by his struggling offensive line and running game, but he didn't help himself out much either. When the Ravens were shut out for the first 40 minutes, Flacco was 11 of 22 for 141 yards. He often held the ball too long in the pocket and his throws were off target in the first half, which has been a trend in the Ravens' slow starts. And I'm not sure why Flacco threw to Vonta Leach and Billy Bajema (three combined targets) instead of Torrey Smith (four targets). Flacco did nearly orchestrate an improbable comeback, stepping up in the pocket and heaving a 63-yard pass on fourth-and-21. It's just tough to forget the hole he dug himself in. Grade: C-minus.

Running backs: Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce each averaged less than 2.5 yards per carry, which has become a weekly source of embarrassment. The worst moment of the season for these backs came deep in the red zone in the second quarter. The Ravens failed to crack the goal line despite Rice getting three runs inside the 5-yard line and Pierce needing one yard on fourth-and-goal. Yes, the running backs are getting hit too often in the backfield. But they also need to be more aggressive hitting the line and figure out how to break tackles. The poor play was limited to the running game. Rice also had a bad drop in the fourth quarter. Grade: F.

Wide receivers/tight ends: Jacoby Jones had a nice showing in his return with a 31-yard catch-and-run in the open field and an 11-yard touchdown grab. Tight end Dallas Clark displayed surprising acceleration on a 45-yard reception and made a nifty one-handed catch in the end zone. This group delivered big plays against the NFL's 26th-ranked pass defense but not enough consistency (2 of 14 on third downs). Torrey Smith, the AFC's leading receiver, was held to one catch for 12 yards. The Ravens need to find a way to always get the ball in his hands. Ed Dickson wasn't targeted once after making a big play the previous game. Grade: C.

Offensive line: Horrible run blocking, inconsistent pass protection and dumb penalties continued an awful season for the offensive line. There was a lack of push in the ground game, which got 43 yards out of its running backs (second-lowest of the season). The Ravens had trouble handling pressure -- and linebacker A.J. Hawk (three sacks) -- up the middle. It was a shaky effort from center Gino Gradkowski, who got a holding penalty against a three-man rush. New left tackle Eugene Monroe got beat toward the end of the first half, which led to Flacco getting stripped from behind and a short field goal for the Packers. Flacco was sacked a season-high five times. Three offensive linemen were flagged for penalties, including two on Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda. Grade: F.

Defensive line: Art Jones is a more disruptive force than Haloti Ngata these days. He's getting penetration in the middle against the run and the pass. Ngata, who injured his elbow early in the game, has a bad habit of disappearing in the second half. This front got moved around too much in the running game (rookie Eddie Lacy had a career high 120 yards rushing). Chris Canty had one tackle. Grade: C.

Linebackers: This group gets mixed reviews. Elvis Dumervil forced two fumbles on two sacks, but he needs to chase after the loose ball instead of starting his dance. Terrell Suggs recorded 10 sacks but he got caught overpursuing, which allowed too many big runs. And Daryl Smith had 10 tackles but he needs to make that interception deep in his own territory. It was a disruptive performance that could've been much better. Rookie Arthur Brown also missed a sack on Aaron Rodgers, who converted the third down by scrambling past him. Grade: B-minus.

Secondary: The biggest mistake was on a 64-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson. Lardarius Webb was expecting safety help from James Ihedigbo on a costly communication breakdown. Safety Matt Elam stopped a drive in Ravens' territory with a hit on Randall Cobb's knee. But he doesn't have the length or size to bring down tight ends like Jermichael Finley, who sealed the win with a third-down catch in the fourth quarter. Cornerback Jimmy Smith made an excellent play to intercept a pass in the end zone and then missed a tackle which led to a 43-yard play. Ihedigbo finished with 10 tackles and made an impact on blitzes. Grade: C-plus.

Special teams: It's been a rough year for punter Sam Koch. He had his second punt blocked this year and had a touchback on a punt from the Packers' 37-yard line, which netted 17 yards in field position. Tandon Doss made a couple of questionable decisions, fielding a punt at his own three-yard line (which he did return for 38 yards) and letting a punt bounce around midfield when he should've picked it up. Jacoby Jones created a spark with kickoff returns of 35 and 30 yards. The coverage team allowed backup punt returner Micah Hyde to average 13.6 yards. Grade: C.