It's time to grade the Ravens after their overtime loss against the Browns. We've already evaluated the offense, now it's time for the defense and special teams...
DEFENSIVE LINE: B-
The Ravens held the Browns to 9 rushing yards in the first half and 83 overall on 25 carries (3.3 avg.). What little pressure the Ravens got on Josh McCown generally came from this group. All four sacks of McCown came from defensive linemen -- two by Lawrence Guy and one each from Timmy Jernigan and Brandon Williams. Guy finished with six tackles, three for loss. Guy, though, had a roughing the passer penalty that negated an interception.
The blame reaches just about everyone in this group. There was no pressure on the quarterback, coverage was terrible, and linebackers were responsible for several of the "inexcusable" penalties that infuriated coach John Harbaugh. The middle of the field was left wide open too often. Linebackers couldn't stay with Duke Johnson out of the backfield. Daryl Smith whiffed on a tackle that turned into a 22-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Isaiah Crowell. A third-down, hands-to-the-face penalty on Jason Babin gave the Browns a first down and they scored two plays later. Babin and Za'Darius Smith both got called for being offside on another Browns touchdown drive. Just burn the tape.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: D
Injuries played a role in this group's struggles; under no circumstances did the Ravens envision Tray Walker on the field in crunch time this season, but when three corners go down and another (Rashaan Melvin) is inactive, that's what happens. Lardarius Webb was decent before leaving with an injury, but there were still way too many problems. Taylor Gabriel got behind Kyle Arrington for a 56-yard bomb, with Will Hill providing no safety help. Tight end Gary Barnidge was left open way too often, to the tune of eight catches for 139 yards. Kendrick Lewis had some nice plays in run support, but too often safety blitzes were picked up and then the secondary left exposed. Terrence Brooks, pressed into work as the nickel back, had five tackles.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B
The Ravens got a nice spark from practice squad call-up Jeremy Ross, who had a 17-yard punt return and a 46-yard kickoff return. Sam Koch did a fantastic job thwarting dangerous return man Travis Benjamin, using the sideline as a 12th tackler. The one decent return Benjamin got featured a great open-field tackle by Brynden Trawick. Surprisingly, Justin Tucker had one of the few blemishes, missing on a 51-yard field-goal try after his plant foot slipped slightly.