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Ravens report card: Defense, special teams vs. Chiefs


Ravens report card: Defense, special teams vs. Chiefs

We've already graded the Ravens offense after the 34-14 loss to the Chiefs. Now it's time to grade the defense, which played better than the final score indicates considering the Chiefs defense scored two touchdowns. (And there's not enough red ink to sufficiently critique the Ravens peanut-butter-and-jelly disaster of a uniform ... )


Other than the 38-yard touchdown run by Charcandrick West, the Ravens run defense was stout. The Chiefs totaled 113 yards rushing, but minus that long TD and they ran 27 times for just 75 yards, less than 3 yards a carry. Brandon Williams was again a force inside, finishing with four tackles, two for losses. Timmy Jernigan finished with a career-high six tackles, but his foolish late-hit penalty extended the Chiefs opening drive. Brent Urban recorded his first sack, but he also drew John Harbaugh's ire at one point for letting Alex Smith break containment.


C.J. Mosley has had a solid second half of the season and finished with a team-high nine tackles. Rookie Za'Darius Smith recorded a pair of sacks, and Daryl Smith had seven tackles. Elvis Dumervil had a quiet day against an offensive line that had allowed among the most sacks in the league. Tackling was improved, too, which didn't take much.


The Chiefs didn't try to take many deep shots downfield, preferring short, high-percentage throws. But a secondary that lost Jimmy Smith on the opening series held its own for the most part. The Ravens had trouble with another tight end, with Travis Kelce grabbing six catches for 73 yards, but no wide receiver had a catch of more than 13 yards. Jumal Rolle played 27 defensive snaps in his Ravens debut. Yet again, though, the Ravens did not come up with an interception. They remain stuck on four for the season, one since Week 3.


Kaelin Clay has shown he is a big-play threat every time he touches the ball. He had a 39-yard kick return and averaged 13.5 yards on two punt returns. Sam Koch netted 41.4 yards on five punts with good directional punting again. Koch's fake punt was a questionable call, but it probably would have worked if Anthony Levine hadn't blown his block. And it was a huge momentum switch early in the game. Levine was also whistled for another penalty, his fourth in the past three weeks.

[RELATED: Chiefs CB celebrates pick-six vs. Ravens with Lewis dance]


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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Shefter.

After being released by the Raiders Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers WR Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

The most obvious move in the NFL this offseason was the Ravens signing a new wide receiver (or three). It was less obvious why the team decided to commit so much money to former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant has long been beloved by his coaches and teammates, but the results have never been there on game day. He has some potential to improve if given a larger role in a team's offense, which he likely would have had in Baltimore, but it never made much sense to offer him a 4-year contract worth nearly 30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed.

Thankfully for fans who were uninspired by the reported agreement, Grant was unable to pass his physical and will not be joining the team.


At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over. 

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Grant is recovering from a Grade 2 sprained ankle that would need two months rest.

You have to feel for Grant, who by all accounts has worked his tail off for many years just waiting for his chance. It's never easy missing out on nearly $15 million dollars guaranteed, but Grant should be able to find work with another team.

The timing of this news, coming so soon after former Raider Michael Crabtree became available, seemed fishy to some.

At Friday's press conference, Newsome also said the team would have still pursued Crabtree if they signed Grant. 

It's probably not fair to suggest that an NFL franchise would actually so publicly back out of a deal just because another option came along, as any team with that reputation would struggle to attract future free agents. That said, it could end up working out splendidly for the team.

Besides, if all else is equal, shouldn't a team located in Baltimore be going after a guy named CRABtree?