Ravens Grades: Evaluating the Eagles game

RavensInsider.com issued out its grades following Baltimore's 24-23 loss to Philadelphia on Sunday.

Here are Sunday's grades, following Philadelphia's 24-23 win over Baltimore:

Quarterback: C-plus

Joe Flacco was 14-17 for 92 yards and a touchdown in the first half against the Eagles. He had just completed six consecutive solid quarters of football and was looking for more. The Ravens were up 17-7 and were receiving to start the second half. A quick score would put Philadelphia on its heels and in panic mode.

That didn't happen.

Flacco, who said he injured his ribs on his first throw of the second half, only completed eight of 25 second half throws. Many of his throws -- especially to the sideline -- were off target as the Ravens were forced into three three-and-outs in the third quarter.

Running back: B

Ray Rice touched the ball 22 times for an average of 6.9 yards per carry. He had 16 carries for 99 yards and six receptions for 53 yards. But still, it seemed like he didn't get the ball enough, especially down the stretch. Of Rice's limited runs in the second half, he only had one carry longer than three yards -- a six-yard gainer at the 5:30 mark of the third quarter.

Say what you want about the gameplan, but the Philly defense adjusted to take away the run in the second half.

Wide receiver: C-minus

Flacco, John Harbaugh and whoever else can complain about the officiating if they want, but it's still not going to put a win in the books.

Sure, the Philadelphia defensive backs were physical -- maybe too physical -- on Sunday. But the Ravens receivers have to fight back and not get frustrated. There's a reason physical cornerbacks like Nnamdi Asomugha are coveted in this league. In the second half, the Ravens receivers did little to nothing to get separation on their own. Acting like it's a God-given right won't do anyone any good.

With all that stated, you have to feel for Jacoby Jones, who initiated as little contact as possible to get out of a hold for a potential touchdown that would've put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter with under five minutes to go. Yet, he was called with an offensive pass interference penalty.

Tight end: B

Dennis Pitta led the Ravens in receiving once again, finishing with eight receptions for 65 yards. Flacco targeted Pitta 15 times. Pitta was a safety net in the second half, when nothing else was open.

In two games, Pitta's been the most consistent, which begs this question: Where is Ed Dickson? Dickson had one catch for 23 yards on Sunday but hasn't been much of a threat yet. He had two catches for 22 yards in the season-opener against Cincinnati.

Offensive line: C

A week after looking solid against Cincinnati, the offensive line lost the biggest matchup of the game against Philadelphia's defensive line. The stat sheet shows the Philadelphia defense recorded two sacks and one quarterback hit, but that doesn't indicate the pressure put on Flacco to rush some of his throws.

Part of Flacco's problem in the second half was he kept overthrowing the football when facing a rush. Already banged up with a injury to the ribs, Flacco likely forced some throws to avoid hits. Put the blame on the line or Flacco, if you will, but the line did got give Flacco enough time to read his progressions like it did a week ago against Cincinnati.

Defensive line: C

When Philadelphia lost its second offensive lineman of the day, most Ravens fans probably felt the pressure from the defensive line would pick up. Wrong. Even with Jason Kelce and King Dunlap out of the game, the Ravens failed to generate much of a push up front.

Vick did take two sacks but the pressure was never a constant threat. It contained LeSean McCoy to 81 yards on 25 carries but gave Vick enough time to throw for 371 yards.

Linebackers: C

All things considered, the linebackers were by far the best group on defense Sunday afternoon. Dannell Ellerbe recorded a sack. Albert McClellan, Courtney Upshaw and Ray Lewis had 15 combined tackles. McClellan nearly had an interception that would've thwarted what became an Eagles field goal two plays later midway through the third quarter.

But the unit, like the defensive line, allowed Vick plenty of time to throw and didn't generate much of a pass rush. But you could also credit that to Vick's ability to burn defenses with his legs when facing a blitz. Baltimore did its best to remain disciplined but failed to stop the quarterback when it mattered most.

Defensive backs: C-minus

Losing safety Bernard Pollard in the first half hurt the Ravens in a big way. Pollard was setting a defensive tone early, recording a sack, an interception in the end zone, and laying out tight end Brent Celek on a pass play.

But Pollard injured his ribs and couldn't return to the game. Ed Reed did record an interception in the second half but the secondary allowed Vick to air it out all game. With Pollard out of the game, the safeties allowed Celek to finish the game with 157 yards on eight catches. Celek was uncovered at times, a clear breakdown in communication in the back end.

Special teams: A-minus

If you believe in silver linings, here's one for you: Justin Tucker looks to be the next great Ravens kicker, following in Matt Stover's footsteps.

In a hostile environment, Tucker knocked in field goals from 48, 51 and 56 yards away. Sam Koch punted the ball five times for an average of 50.2. And Deonte Thompson had three kickoff returns for 100 yards total, his longest return going for 49 yards.

Coaching: C

When a defense blitzes and sacks the quarterback, the defensive coordinator looks brilliant. When the defense doesn't get there, and the quarterback finds an open receiver, the mood immediately changes, blaming the coordinator for his defenders not covering enough men downfield.

This defense, without Terrell Suggs, will struggle generating a consistent pass rush until his return. You see glimpses of it here and there, but throughout the Eagles game it was apparent the talent isn't on the roster right now. This isn't Pees fault. His players, outside of Haloti Ngata up front, aren't as good as what the Ravens are used to.

Flipping to the offensive side of the ball, Cam Cameron will receive a lot of criticism this week for not running the ball enough in the second half. In a sense, I disagree. The Eagles stacked the box with eight defenders and played man-to-man on the receivers. In most cases, with a good quarterback, you pass the ball. Flacco had an off second half and the Eagles defensive backs played extremely physical at the line, and, well, down the field too.

Here's the main issue, in my opinion: The Ravens had four third-and-shorts (two yards or less) in the second half and passed the ball each time. You have a $40 million running back who's built to pick up first downs in short yardage situations. Why not use him? Use a misdirection run to try and gain some yards. The issue isn't that Cameron wanted to throw more than run in the second half. It's that he fumbled how to play situational football.

A big part of the philosophy of coaching is to take what the defense gives you. But simply looking at a front on third-and-short and deciding not to run will hurt you in the end. You have to put faith in your playmakers, especially the ones your owner is paying a ton of money to.

Total game score: 2.3 (C-plus).


Last week I didn't have a grades post, so here's what it would have been:

QB: B-plus, RB: B, WR: B, TE: B-plus, OL: B, DL: B, LB: C, DB: B-plus, ST: B-plus, coaching: B-plus. Total game score: 3.1 (B).

Year to date grades: QB: 2.8, RB: 3.0, WR: 2.4, TE: 3.2, OL: 2.5, DL: 2.5, LB: 2.0, DB: 2.5, ST: 3.5, coaching: 2.7. Total year to date score: 2.7 (B-minus).

The scale -- A: 4.0, A-minus: 3.7, B-plus: 3.3, B: 3.0, B-minus: 2.7, C-plus: 2.3, C: 2.0, C-minus: 1.7, D: 1.0, F: 0.

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