Ravens-Browns grades

RavensInsider.com publisher Jason Butt hands out his grades following Baltimore's 25-15 win over Cleveland on Sunday.

Quarterback: B-minus

You have to applaud Joe Flacco for remaining calm under pressure once the Browns went up 15-14 in the fourth quarter. After an erratic third quarter, Flacco regained his composure and led the Ravens down the field for a nine-play, 81-yard drive, capped with a touchdown pass to Torrey Smith.

Running back: B-plus

It's hard not to give the running backs a higher grade after Ray Rice ran for 98 yards and a touchdown, and Bernard Pierce tallying 26 yards and a touchdown. The running backs ran hard early and gained a lot of ground but hit a lull midway through the second quarter and through the third quarter. However, after Flacco completed some passes on Baltimore's touchdown drive in the fourth quarter, Rice found room again and broke off a couple of big runs. Getting Rice involved early and often will need to be something the Ravens continue moving forward.

Wide receiver: B

Anquan Boldin didn't have the 131-yard outing he had against Cleveland in Week 4, but he converted quite a few third down opportunities on Sunday. He finished with five catches for 57 yards against a stingy Browns secondary. Torrey Smith was able to record a touchdown in the fourth quarter with a nice run after the catch, which put Baltimore ahead after going down 15-14. Boldin then got behind the Browns secondary to catch the two-point conversion to ensure that the Browns had to score a touchdown and extra point to tie.

Tight end: C-plus

Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson combined for four catches for 44 yards and were once again not much of a factor in the passing game. Dickson has been relegated to being a blocking tight end primarily and hasn't seen much involvement other than that. What was supposedly a strength heading into this year is, at this time, just an average group of guys that are decent blockers and OK threats to throw the ball to.

Offensive line: B

After giving up four sacks against Cleveland in Week 4, the Ravens only surrendered one against the Browns. The tackles did a good enough job keeping the pass rush off of Flacco and the left side of the line looked good running the football. The line, much like the rest of the offense, started strong and finished strong, with plenty of mishaps in between. Marshal Yanda's knee is likely fine, though you have to wonder if it will be something he has to tolerate as the season moves on.

Defensive line: B-minus

Haloti Ngata didn't record any tackles but he did have a critical pass rush that led to a Brandon Weeden interception. The line wasn't pushed back as bad as it has been in recent games against the Browns, which is a good sign. DeAngelo Tyson stood out as someone flying to the ball sideline to sideline, and as someone who could hold his own and occupy blockers. He could be someone to look at in the coming weeks.

Linebackers: B

This grade is more indicative of how well the inside linebackers played, given that Dannell Ellerbe recorded nine tackles and a sack. It could be argued that Ellerbe has had the best season of any defender and it showed on Sunday. Terrell Suggs did a good job as an edge setter against the run but was neutralized rushing the passer. Then again, he went against one of the best left tackles in the league in Joe Thomas.

Defensive backs: B

In a bend but don't break scheme, defenses are going to give up some yardage plays, as it will look to keep plays from forming behind them. The defensive backs did a good job keeping Weeden from hitting the big play in the passing game. Weeden finished just 20-37 for 176 yards, as compared to the 320 he threw in Week 4. Cary Williams and Ed Reed both recorded interceptions as the unit helped keep Weeden from establishing a rhythm.

Special teams: B-plus

A strength of the Ravens this year, the special teams unit had another solid outing. Sam Koch averaged over 44 yards per punt, including a long of 54. With the Ravens dealing with bad starting field position throughout, Koch was able to flip the field and keep Cleveland from capitalizing on the offense's woes. Justin Tucker kicked another clutch field goal, putting the game away for Baltimore from 43 yards out late into the fourth quarter. The return game didn't generate as many yards as in past outings, which kept this grade from getting into the A range.

Coaching: B

Dean Pees deserves a lot of credit for coaching up his unit this week. The defensive effort was there and it was a good rebound outing after the Houston game. There are still plenty of issues to follow, but this team isn't talented enough to be what past Ravens defenses have been. Cam Cameron should also get some credit for sticking with the run when he could have panicked and allowed Flacco to throw the ball all over the place. But then again, the offense seemed extremely predictable and void of creativity. A home game against Oakland will be huge for the offense, which plays much better at M&T Bank Stadium.

Total game score: 3.0 (B).


Last week: QB: D, RB: B-minus, WR: C-minus, TE: C, OL: D, DL: D, LB: C, DB: C-minus, ST: A-minus, coaching: D.

Year to date: QB: 2.7, RB: 3.3, WR: 2.7, TE: 2.7, OL: 2.4, DL: 2.0, LB: 2.0, DB: 2.5, ST: 3.4, coaching: 2.7.

Here's 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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