Ravens Report Card: Week Nine

TheInsiders offer their report card on the Ravens game Sunday against the Jaguars...

A view of Sunday's victory over the Jaguars, courtesy of the analysts at TheInsiders.com:

PASSING OFFENSE: C -- It was feast or famine for Kyle Boller. The rookie quarterback had four passes for 117 yards while his other six completions went for 39 yards. He finished 10-for-23 (43 percent) against a Jacksonville pass defense that had allowed quarterbacks to complete 62 percent of their throws. The critical mistake was another fumble -- Boller's eighth of the season -- which was returned 15 yards for Jacksonville's first touchdown.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- The Ravens created little space for Jamal Lewis and the league's leading rusher was held to a season-low 68 yards rushing. The biggest play came from Chester Taylor, who filled in for an injured Lewis and ran for a 29-yard touchdown. But the most troubling aspect is how the running game fared in the red zone, where the Ravens averaged 2.4 yards on seven rushes. The Ravens finished with 103 yards on the ground, which is 78 yards below their season average.

PASS DEFENSE: B-plus -- The pressure applied by the Ravens' pass rush forced two fumbles and paved the way for 10 points in the fourth quarter. Playing prevent defense kept the Ravens' pass defense from having a stellar game. In the first three quarters, the Ravens limited quarterback Byron Leftwich to 80 yards passing. In the final quarter, a more passive zone gave up 128 yards. Will Demps deflected Leftwich's final pass, which was intercepted by Ray Lewis to seal the win.

RUSH DEFENSE: C -- The Ravens surrendered a season-worst 134 yards, which all came in the first three quarters. The total could have been worse if the Jaguars didn't need to go into passing mode in order to play catch-up. The problem was the Ravens' inability to control the line of scrimmage and make tackles. Three different Jacksonville running backs -- Fred Taylor, LaBrandon Toefield and Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala -- each had runs of at least 15 yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- The Ravens won the field-position battle because of returner Lamont Brightful and their coverage teams. Excluding turnovers, the Ravens started at their own 40-yard line or better seven times while the Jaguars began at their own 22 or worse eight times. After Jacksonville tied the game on a fumble return, Brightful returned the ensuing kickoff a season-best 58 yards to swing back the momentum. He also ran back the opening kickoff 31 yards to place the Ravens near midfield. The coverage teams stifled the Jaguars to 2.5 yards on punt returns and 18.8 yards on kickoffs.

COACHING: D -- The Ravens coaching staff nearly handed the game back to Jacksonville with terrible play calling late in the fourth quarter. With 2 1/2 minutes remaining in the game, Ravens rookie quarterback threw a deep pass to tight end Todd Heap that fell incomplete and stopped the clock. If the Ravens had run the ball, they could have wound off an additional 25 seconds or forced the Jaguars to take a timeout. It was the most bizarre call of the season.
 


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