We’ve already graded the offense after the Ravens wild ‘kick six’ win at Cleveland on Monday night. Now it’s time to hand out the report cards to the defense and special teams:
DEFENSIVE LINE: B
The Ravens limited the Browns to 63 yards on 18 carries, and the defensive line generally made life miserable for Browns quarterback Josh McCown. Timmy Jernigan was credited with three quarterback hits, including the one that flattened McCown and knocked him out of the game. Chris Canty had perhaps his best game of the season. He didn’t have any sacks, but he had a pair of quarterback hits and had kept the heat up throughout. Canty was a major reason the Browns struggled in the red zone.
Elvis Dumervil had 1 ½ sacks, but no other linebackers applied much pressure. And the Ravens linebackers continue to have all sorts of trouble in coverage. Tight end Gary Barndige (7-91) had another big day, and the Browns had a lot of success throwing against Ravens linebackers in the middle of the field. C.J. Mosley had seven tackles but also had a potential interception bounce off his hands.
The Ravens had another bad breakdown in the secondary, allowing Travis Benjamin to get wide open for a game-tying, 42-yard touchdown when Will Hill bit hard on the tight end underneath. Overall, the Ravens were again very soft in the middle of the field. Lardarius Webb led the Ravens with seven tackles, and Shareece Wright had another good night as an outside corner. Since being torched in his Ravens debut, Wright has been perhaps the team's most improved player. The Ravens again failed to come up with an interception, in part because both Webb and Wright had balls bounce off their hands. Jimmy Smith had another quiet night.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A -
What can you say? This unit delivered two touchdowns, including the game-winning blocked field goal by Brent Urban that was returned for a score by Will Hill. The Ravens have now blocked a kick in five straight games. Kaelin Clay also showed why the Ravens were high on him with an 82-yard punt return touchdown. Sam Koch didn't have a great night punting (39.8 net), but he did limit the dangerous return ability of Benjamin. Justin Tucker made his only two field-goal tries, but one hugged the upright and the other was a low line drive. Penalties, though, continue to be a problem for this unit, which has been outstanding in almost all other facets.
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