Sport Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 23-20 loss to Bills | COMMENTARY
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As we head into the fourth quarter, Miami is threatening to score as they try to make an improbable comeback. Live Score Updates Dolphins 21 - Ravens 35 First Quarter Reactions The Dolphins won the toss and deferred to the second half. They probably should have just gone ahead and received. Devin Duvernay took the kick three-yards deep in the endzone and 13 seconds later was scoring the touchdown. Not exactly the opening to the game Miami was expecting. Ravens 7-0.
Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after a 23-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Sunday’s Week 4 matchup at M&T Bank Stadium:
Lamar Jackson rushed 11 times for 73 yards but threw two interceptions while completing 20 of 29 passes for a season-low 144 yards. Since the season started, he has been fortunate enough to toss up several jump balls that his receivers have won. When the Bills started to crowd the line of scrimmage and bring a lot of blitzes in the second half, Jackson’s production dropped off. His interception in the end zone on fourth-and-goal with 4:15 to play was unacceptable. Devin Duvernay was wide open in the corner of the end zone, but Jackson waited too long and missed him for the potential game-winning touchdown. Grade: C+
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The Ravens had a good mix with Justice Hill (eight carries for 45 yards) and J.K. Dobbins (13 carries for 41 yards). Hill became more of an outside threat as the game went on and Dobbins was successful inside, especially on cutback runs. The Ravens had 91 rushing yards in the first half but only 71 in the second. If they ran the ball successfully in the second half, they might have kept Buffalo’s offense off the field. Instead, they were outscored 13-0. Hill left the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury, and that hurt the rushing attack. Grade: C
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This group was dominant in the first half as the Ravens mauled the Bills at the line of scrimmage and into the second level. The Ravens were successful running draws and cutbacks, and guards Ben Powers and Kevin Zeitler were effective climbing to the second level and pulling down the line of scrimmage. Rookie left tackle Daniel Faalele had a good effort in the first half run blocking against star outside linebacker Von Miller, but the Bills turned up the pressure in the second half with blitzes and crowded the line of scrimmage. The Ravens allowed two sacks, but one was from Jackson holding onto the ball too long. Grade: C
The combination of rain, cold and wind caused problems for receivers, and maybe no player struggled more than second-year wideout Rashod Bateman, who had three catches for 17 yards but also dropped three passes. Tight end Mark Andrews, the team’s top pass-catcher this season, had only two catches for 15 yards, while Duvernay had four receptions for 51 yards. The Ravens seemed content to throw short. Maybe it was because of the poor weather, but the Bills averaged 11.2 yards per catch compared to 7.2 for the Ravens. Grade: C
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End Justin Madubuike played a strong game, finishing with three tackles and deflecting two passes at the line of scrimmage. Like the rest of the defense, this group wore down in the second half. The frustration could be seen on the face of veteran end Calais Campbell, who spent a lot of time arguing with officials. Against the Bills’ fast-paced offense, the Ravens’ front looked winded in crunch time. Grade: C
Outside linebacker Odafe Oweh had his best game of the season, finishing with a team-high seven tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and two quarterback hits. The Ravens started newly signed veteran Jason Pierre-Paul at outside linebacker, which shows how desperate they are at that position. In the second half, inside linebackers Malik Harrison, Patrick Queen and Josh Bynes were slow to react or simply missed a lot of tackles. The Ravens need to upgrade at this position, and fast. Grade: C-
The Ravens jumped Buffalo receivers and hounded them all over the field in the first half. At times, it seemed as if they were in the Bills’ huddle. Then they disappeared in the second half. This group looked as unorganized as it did in the collapse against Miami two weeks ago. Even safety Marcus Williams can disappear at times, and he has been the best player in the secondary. Marcus Peters continues to make plays and fellow cornerback Marlon Humphrey had an early interception that set up a touchdown, but the Ravens need more cohesion on the back end. Grade: C-
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Justin Tucker made field-goal attempts of 42 and 51 yards and it’s a shame the Ravens didn’t trot him out to try a game-winning 19-yard field goal with 4:15 remaining and the score tied at 20. The Ravens did get a 28-yard kickoff return from Duvernay and rookie punter Jordan Stout averaged 50.2 yards on three attempts. The only downside was allowing a 42-yard kickoff return by Isaiah McKenzie early in the first quarter. Grade: B
This was a tale of two halves. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman had the draws, screens and power running game working in the first half but had no answer for Buffalo’s pressure in the second. Defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald shut down Buffalo in the first half when quarterback Josh Allen struggled to hit his receivers but had nothing to slow him down in the second once he found his rhythm. Coach John Harbaugh should have allowed Tucker to attempt the potential game-winning field goal, but he stuck to his aggressive philosophy. It showed he has no faith in his defense, which has been one of the worst in the NFL. Grade: D
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