Ravens report card vs. Patriots

December, 23, 2013
12/23/13
12:00
PM ET
Grading the Baltimore Ravens in their 41-7 loss to the New England Patriots.

Quarterback: Joe Flacco gets an 'A' for effort, playing on a sprained left knee. The execution, well, was a different story. In the first half, when the game was ultimately decided, Flacco completed 5 of 10 passes for 52 yards. Yes, five-two. Of those five completions, four went to running backs, which shows you how much the knee injury affected Flacco from stepping into his throws. Flacco also finished with two interceptions and missed open receivers too many times. There was one instance where the Ravens allowed a free runner at Flacco and he didn't get the ball to his hot read. Backup Tyrod Taylor looked ragged in mop-up duty, getting an interception returned for a touchdown. Grade: F.

Running backs: Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce totaled 71 yards against the second-worst run defense in the NFL. That's not going to cut it. They averaged 3.4 yards per carry, and they didn't break a run longer than 8 yards. Rice, who was limited in practice with a thigh injury, had his playing time reduced. The one time Rice looked like his old self was on his 13-yard catch and run. But his worst showing was failing to get 1 yard on fourth-and-1 from the Patriots' 4-yard line. Grade: F.

Wide receivers/tight ends: This group was hamstrung by Flacco's struggles to get the ball downfield. Torrey Smith could've had a touchdown if Flacco had hit him in stride because the Ravens' No. 1 receiver had gotten behind the defense. Smith showed some fire on his 42-yard catch when he stiff-armed safety Steve Gregory. Dennis Pitta let a pass, which was a little off target, go through his hands and right to the Patriots for the second interception of the game. Jacoby Jones was a non-factor with one catch for 11 yards. Grade: C-minus.

Offensive line: The line had trouble with picking up Brandon Spikes on run blitzes right up the middle. The pass protection was better than the run blocking, and only one of the four sacks can be blamed on the line (right tackle Michael Oher). The line just can't get any consistent push, and it showed on that fourth-and-1 inside the New England 5-yard line. Oher had the worst game of the linemen, and it could've been his final time with the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. There was a run, the one where Pierce had to reverse his direction, where Oher couldn't push cornerback Kyle Arrington out of the way. One positive is the line had only one penalty (left guard A.Q. Shipley's illegal use of hands). Grade: D.

Defensive line: The Ravens gave a marginal Patriots offensive line fits at times, which is why there were so many holding penalties on New England. But the Ravens got pushed back more than anyone expected. The bottom line is Baltimore allowed 142 yards rushing, the second most against the Ravens this season, and two rushing touchdowns. Art Jones had another strong effort with eight tackles before leaving with a head injury. Haloti Ngata had six tackles as well as a batted pass. Chris Canty has not been a difference-maker up front. Grade: D.

Linebackers: Daryl Smith led the Ravens with 11 tackles and had one quarterback hit and one pass defensed. Terrell Suggs still doesn't always set the edge, but he ended his six-game sack drought. He also added two tackles behind the line of scrimmage and had two quarterback hits. Inside linebacker Jameel McClain, along with safety Matt Elam, both jumped on the inside receiver, allowing running back Shane Vereen to go uncovered in the red zone for the Patriots' second touchdown. Elvis Dumervil forced Tom Brady to alter a throw early but he disappeared after that. Grade: C-minus.

Secondary: The Ravens had trouble with Julian Edelman in the first quarter. Jimmy Smith had good position against Edelman on a deep throw, but he was flagged for a 34-yard pass interference penalty when he put his hands on Edelman after the receiver turned at the last moment. Lardarius Webb then bumped Edelman on the second drive after he was fooled on a double move, which drew a flag for illegal contact. Safety James Ihedigbo made a costly missed tackle on Danny Amendola, which resulted in a 34-yard gain on third-and-5. Grade: D.

Special teams: It really isn't the Ravens' day when Justin Tucker misses. Tucker failed to convert his first field goal since Week 2 when he hit a 37-yard attempt wide left. Jacoby Jones had a 22-yard punt return and a 33-yard kickoff return, but he didn't break a momentum-changing one for the Ravens. It was a sloppy overall effort with four penalties, which included Pernell McPhee running into the punter. Grade: D.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


Insider