Ravens Grades: Evaluating the Steelers game

RavensInsider.com publisher Jason Butt hands out his grades after reflecting upon Baltimore's 13-10 win over Pittsburgh.

Quarterback: B

Joe Flacco played his game close to the vest, electing not to take many chances that would result in costly turnovers. He played a conservative game, much to some of the fans' chagrin, and it proved to be enough. Sometimes the flashy play isn't needed, especially if you can get a much needed divisional win against your top rival.

Running back: B

Rice did not have a good day running the ball, just managing 40 yards on 20 carries. While it was tough sledding running, he did manage 53 yards in the receiving game, which helped the offense at times. Rice has gotten his touches in recent weeks in the running game, but he needs to make more of it -- though a lot of this can be attributed to the offensive line.

Wide receiver: B

The Steelers blanketed the Ravens receivers throughout the game, showing why they have the NFL's No. 1 ranked pass defense. Anquan Boldin made the most of his opportunities, hauling in eight passes for 79 yards. Torrey Smith had a tough day, catching just one pass for seven yards. On the road, it's been much tougher for these receivers to get open. Sunday was more of the same.

Tight end: C-plus

Dennis Pitta caught one pass for five yards but exited the game due to a concussion. Ed Dickson was primarily a blocker on Sunday, though he did catch two passes for eight yards. Third string tight end Billy Bajema, who entered the game for Pitta, had a tough time blocking and wasn't much of a factor running routes.

Offensive line: B-minus

C Matt Birk was blown up throughout the game, which hurt the offense's running game. The interior failed to get a push and Rice couldn't run through the tackles to work some clock. Tackles Michael Oher and Kelechi Osemele had a decent day, though Osemele did give up a sack. The line had an average outing as a whole, but did just enough to keep Flacco clean throughout most of the game.

Defensive line: B-plus

The defensive line got a pretty good push at times, with Haloti Ngata recording a sack at a key time. Arthur Jones also recorded four tackles and fared well in run support for the most part. The defensive line had one of its better outings of the season against Pittsburgh.

Linebackers: A-minus

Paul Kruger had another strong game, his second in a row. Kruger added another sack to his stat sheet and now leads the team with 4.5 this season. Dannell Ellerbe led the team with 12 tackles and Jameel McClain had a solid outing with nine. Kruger and Suggs were able to rush the passer effectively and Courtney Upshaw had another good day setting an edge as an outside backer, and lining up in other spots on the field.

Defensive backs: B-plus

Cary Williams has steadily improved his play this year as his surgically repaired hip continues to improve. Williams didn't play a perfect game but he fought hard and was physical at the line of scrimmage. Corey Graham had an outstanding game subbing in for Jimmy Smith. Graham had a timely interception and a key pass breakup in the end zone that helped force Pittsburgh to settle for a field goal. James Ihedigbo recorded a safety in the sub package and Bernard Pollard's chest appears to be feeling better as he's starting to hit like he did early in the season again.

Special teams: A-minus

Jacoby Jones did it again, returning a punt 63 yards for a touchdown. Jones now has three special teams return touchdowns, with this one providing a spark when the Ravens needed one early. Sam Koch had another strong day punting, averaging over 46 yards on eight punts. The coverage units allowed no big returns, which kept Pittsburgh pinned deep quite a bit. Justin Tucker did miss a 41-yard try but made two field goals.

Coaching: B-plus

Once the Ravens got the lead in the first quarter, the coaches played it conservative on offense and let a defense that began fast win the game for them. In most games this strategy may not have worked. But on the road, in a hostile environment, with a lot of offensive success early, it proved to be safer than trying to force plays on offense that weren't opening up. It was an ugly win, but a win nonetheless.

Total game score: 3.1 (B)


Last week: QB: A-minus, RB: B-plus, WR: B-plus, TE: A-minus, OL: B-plus, DL: B, LB: B-plus, DB: B, ST: A, coaching: A-minus. Total game score: 3.4 (B-plus).

Year to date: QB: 2.8, RB: 3.3, WR: 2.8, TE: 2.8, OL: 2.5, DL: 2.2, LB: 2.3, DB: 2.7, ST: 3.5, coaching: 2.9. Total year to date: 2.8 (B-minus).

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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