The Ravens came out of the gate determined to put this one away early. Despite the hiccup at the goal line the Ravens did pretty much that. They outplayed Denver from start to finish and put on an impressive display of offensive line play. Here are my grades for week 5:
Joe Flacco struggled at times with his accuracy and had a cold spell in the middle of the game, but he made some big throws to move the ball early and kept some drives alive with his feet. Denver seemed more interested in taking away Flacco’s options than they did taking away the run. When teams do that, Flacco needs to be better making his secondary reads. He did spread the ball around well, hopefully that keeps his receivers happy.
Running Backs: A-
Ray Rice turned in his biggest performance of the season showing quickness and toughness running inside the tackles. He also ran well on the goal line. Rice was valuable in the passing game as well. Willis McGahee had some nice runs, including the 30 yard td in the 4th, but he got shut out on the first drive. Some of that was poor blocking. Le’Ron (pronounced Lay Ron) McClain really got going with his lead blocking after the first drive. He had some key blocks on Rice’s and McGahee’s td runs. I would like to see him get the ball more int eh passing game.
Offensive Line: A+
Dominant performance by the whole unit. They made running the ball look easy and kept Denver’s pass rush at bay. They were facing one of the weaker defensive fronts they have faced this year, but they did what they had to do and wore the Broncos down.
Hard to grade this group since the Ravens had so much success running the ball. The Broncos made every effort to limit Anquan Boldin and they did, but that left openings for Derrick Mason and TJ Housmanzadeh. Good to see Ed Dickson get in on the act, but it does not seem like Todd Heap is getting open consistently. This unit can play better when they face teams more committed to taking away the run, which I would imagine is what we will see in Foxboro.
Defensive Line: B
Played well, bottled up Denver’s weak running game and generated enough pressure to throw off Orton’s timing. Good to see Cory Redding get in on the act and even better to see Haloti Ngata get back in the game after that scare on the first drive. Use him as a blocker, fine, but please no more pass routes. I would like to see Terrence Cody on the field more, he will need to step up his game and take some reps from Kelly Gregg as the season wears on.
Jarrett Johnson played his best game. He was very disruptive in the Broncos backfield. Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis were strong controlling the run game and blitzing. The rest of the LB’s did not see the field much since the Ravens were using 5 and 6 DB’s for so much of the game.
Defensive Backs: B-
Played well for most of the game, especially when the Ravens were jumping out to a 17-0 lead. Fabian Washington was the top performer in the secondary, if only he had a better set of hands. Good to see Josh Wilson get on the field more. Lardarius Webb seems about a step behind coming up withsome picks. Hopefully that improves as he gets stronger. Chris Carr really helped limit the Broncos underneath stuff. His play continues to be much better than last year. Safeties did not do a good job of providing deep help. Orton throws a good deep ball and one long td was in garbage time, but they need to be in better position to make plays on the ball/receiver.
Special Teams: A
Billy Cundiff continues to be the Jose Bautista of the kicking world. The ball is booming off his foot and he is making teams have to drive 80 yards on the Ravens. When they do try and bring it out of the end zone they are met with big hits (thanks Jason Phillips and Edgar Jones). Sam Koch boomed some nice punts and the Ravens bottled up Eddie Royal to control the field position battle.
How would you grade the Ravens this week?