Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 31-24 win over Cardinals | COMMENTARY

Here’s how the Ravens (6-2) graded out at each position after a 31-24 win over the Arizona Cardinals (1-7) in Sunday’s Week 8 game at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona:


Lamar Jackson is so inconsistent and he proved it again Sunday. One week after lighting up the Detroit Lions, Jackson seemed lost against the Cardinals, who hit him with several defensive looks, including rushing only three players. Jackson can dominate most games with either his legs or his arm, but he held onto the ball too long and at times seemed confused. He completed only 18 of 27 passes for 157 yards and one touchdown. Grade: C

Running backs

The Ravens don’t have a consistent running game either. This group started to dominate in the third quarter after a second interception from Joshua Dobbs led to another Ravens touchdown, but neither running back, Gus Edwards (19 carries for 80 yards and 3 TDs) nor Justice Hill (4 carries for 15 yards), dominated. The Ravens appeared more committed to passing than running the ball, especially early in the game. Grade: C


The Ravens had trouble getting open against one of the worst secondaries in the NFL, as Arizona entered allowing an average of 237.6 passing yards per game. Opposing teams have started to shut down rookie Zay Flowers (5 catches for 19 yards) on quick screens and they know he is a top option against the blitz. The only other player who could get open was tight end Mark Andrews, who had four catches for 40 yards and a touchdown. Neither of the top free agent acquisitions were factors, and Odell Beckham Jr. made several business decisions with poor blocking and not going after passes. He gets some pass interference calls, but not much separation. Grade: C-

Offensive line

This group gave Jackson time to throw, but he was slow in deciding where to go with the ball. But overall, there weren’t a lot of holes and the Ravens failed to establish the running game early. Right tackle Morgan Moses played well and the Cardinals failed to catch on to the Ravens overshifting on the offensive line, but Baltimore struggled to generate a consistent ground game for nearly two and half quarters until it established a big lead. Arizona finished with four sacks. Grade: C

Defensive line

There wasn’t a player who had more of a dominant presence than nose tackle Michael Pierce, who finished with five tackles. He was excellent in short-yardage situations and even knocked down a fourth-down pass to halt an Arizona drive in the second quarter. But the Cardinals still had success running the ball and would have done even better if they had a passing game. Tackle/end Justin Madubuike finished with three tackles, including a sack, and three pressures. Grade: C


Middle linebacker Roquan Smith delivers some of the most vicious hits on the field every week. He finished with 11 tackles, and so did weakside linebacker Patrick Queen. But the Cardinals had a nice game plan of running away from Smith and the Ravens got knocked off the ball for most of the first half. Overall, it was a decent effort, but not the standard that has been on display on a weekly basis. Arizona had 129 yards on 32 carries. Grade: C+


The Ravens’ two interceptions were gifts from Dobbs, not great, athletic plays. Both safeties, Geno Stone and Kyle Hamilton, played extremely well and were good in run support. Hamilton had 10 tackles and Stone finished with four. Stone had an interception and so did cornerback Brandon Stephens. Receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown was the only Cardinal who could challenge the Ravens’ secondary and he had some success against cornerback Marlon Humphrey. Brown had six catches for 33 yards and a touchdown against his former team. Grade: C

Special teams

Justin Tucker hit a 48-yard field goal but missed a 53-yard attempt. Jordan Stout averaged 48.2 yards on four punts and put four inside the 20-yard line. The Ravens got very little out of their return game, but the good news is that they didn’t allow any big returns. The Ravens’ “hands team” on the Cardinals’ first onside kick was disappointing, especially when receiver Nelson Agholor didn’t fight for the ball and the team lost possession. Grade: C-


The Ravens were hoping to play consistently at a high level after beating Detroit, 38-6, last week, but the offense was a mess again, especially with the Cardinals showing a lot of defensive looks. The Ravens defense was almost as sloppy but good enough to take advantage of the gifts provided by Dobbs. Grade: C-


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