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One Winning Drive: Ravens-Giants: Grading the Ravens

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The loss was bad, how’s the report card?

Quarterback: B-

Joe Flacco avoided the pass rush all day, made a few impressive runs, and even made a few nice passes. His arm wasn’t quite as sharp was it could have been, though, with many of this throws landing behind their intended targets. The windy conditions seemed to limit Flacco and the entire offensive scheme; the Ravens never even tried to stretch the field. Flacco had two interceptions on the day, though he only deserves credit for one.

Running Backs: D+

How bad was the Ravens rushing attack? Joe Flacco’s 57 yard performance led the team. Similar to in Indianapolis, the Ravens running backs tried to run around the defense, instead of through it.  Willis McGahee was limited by injury again. Ray Rice stepped in and did a fair job, but even he looked scattered. The Ravens couldn’t get anything started on the ground - not that they could be expected to match the Giants 200+ yard performance.

Wide Receivers: D

Derrick Mason had 7 catches and 80 yards, but attempt at impersonating David Tyree may have cost the Ravens the game. Mark Clayton and Yamon Figurs were non-factors. Todd Heap made three catches for a total of 17 yards. This group continues to take the life out of the Ravens offense with dropped passes and poor routes.

Offensive Line: C-

The front five of the Ravens had their ups and downs, as did most units. In the passing game, they kept the rush off of Flacco for most of the game, allowing only one sack. That’s not to say Flacco never felt the pressure, but the line helped him manage it well. In the running game, the offensive line looked lost. No sealed corners. No running lanes. And worse? The unit was charged with five false starts.

Defensive Line: D+

The Ravens defensive line was handled all day by the Giants fron-five. They occasionally got pressure on Manning, but were pushed aside and pancaked time and time again in the running game.

Linebackers: D

Outside of Ray Lewis’ interception, the unit failed miserably. Lewis was mentioned more for missing tackles and overpursuing than he was for making tackles. Terrell Suggs and Bart Scott were never mentioed. Jarrett Johnson’s off-sides penalty negated an interception by Fabian Washington. The unit was out of position and looked out of place.

Defensive Backs: C

The Ravens secondary normally takes the brunt of the criticism in bad losses, but not today. The Ravens secondary was far from stellar, but at least they showed up. Eli Manning and his receiving corps didn’t  beat the Ravens today. Jim Leonhard deserves some credit for a game well-played and being the only Raven man enough to take on Brandon Jacobs face-to-face.

Special Teams: D+

Kick returns by Yamon Figurs were surprisingly strong, but hardly enough to save face for a bad season. Matt Stover had a kick blocked. Sam Koch was bothered by the wind. The unit didn’t necessarily hurt the Ravens effort, but they sure didn’t help either.

Coaching: C-

The coaching in this one is hard to read. To start with, the Ravens looked outmatched. That simply shouldn’t happen. The Giants knew every scheme Rex Ryan had and they came prepared. Offensively, Cam Cameron shut the Ravens down himself. At the same time, however, adjustments were clearly made at halftime and the Ravens looked like a new team. If not for a few mistakes specific to the players, not the coaches, I believe this team would have made things far more interesting. The biggest questions, though, have to be for John Harbaugh, who conceded defeat and truly shut the offense down in the 4th quarter. Running the ball is for eating clock, not saving it.

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