Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grades for Ravens’ 34-10 playoff win over Texans | COMMENTARY

Here’s how the Ravens graded out at each position after a 34-10 win over the Houston Texans in Saturday’s AFC divisional round playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium:


Lamar Jackson got off to a slow start but picked up the pace in the second half. His biggest problems in the first half weren’t just the result of Houston blitzes, but he was slow to find his receivers and held on to the ball too long. In the third quarter, Jackson started to find his receivers on crossing routes and the Ravens gave him some help by picking up blitzes. His running ability in the second half gave the offense life. He accounted for four touchdowns and ran for 100 yards while going 16-for-22 with 152 yards passing. Grade: B+

Offensive line

The Ravens had a lot of trouble early in the game picking up blitzes and failing to stop a lot of twists and games the Texans were doing on the defensive front. Both offensive tackles Morgan Moses and Ronnie Stanley struggled in pass protection in the first half and they got some help from offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who came up with some quick hitters in the second half. The Ravens adjusted to the pressure in the final two quarters. Grade: C+

Running backs

The Ravens have a strange running game. They don’t have a dominant back, but they are effective by committee. They pound away with big back Gus Edwards and then use Justice Hill as more of a change-of-pace option. Both of them struggled in pass protection in the first half, but they were better in the second. The Ravens have found a role for backup running back Dalvin Cook. They finished with 229 rushing yards on 42 carries. Grade: B-


This group, like most of the offense, didn’t show up in the first half but played a major part in the second as the Ravens piled on three touchdowns. It was a balanced effort with each player making contributions. After picking up the blitzes, the Ravens were able to spread the ball around to Zay Flowers (4 catches for 41 yards) Nelson Agholor (2 for 12), tight end Isaiah Likely (3 for 34, TD) and receiver Rashod Bateman (3 for 39). Grade B-

Defensive line

Houston basically had no running lanes inside the tackles. The Texans tried to block defensive end-outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney with a tight end and Dalton Schultz couldn’t get it done. Clowney, known more for his pass-rushing ability, was effective as a run-stopper and the Texans didn’t have anyone who could block tackle Justin Madubuike, who got a lot of pressure on rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud. The Ravens had no sacks but kept the rookie off-balance. Grade: A


Except for a few lapses, this group dominated the game and shut down Houston’s running game. The Ravens also came up and tackled well after the catch. Middle linebacker Roquan Smith did a nice job of shedding and reading blocks, and weakside linebacker Patrick Queen was effective in coverage. Strongside linebacker Malik Harrison doesn’t get a lot of credit, but he is solid against the run and holding the edge. Grade: A


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The Ravens kept the Texans in check most of the game even though they allowed some decent gains over the middle, but nothing that Houston capitalized on. The Ravens were effective and came up well to tackle after the catch. Cornerback Brandon Stephens continues to play well and be physical at the line of scrimmage. Safeties Marcus Williams and Geno Stone also played well against the tight end Schultz, and safety Kyle Hamilton was effective near the line of scrimmage. Grade: B

Special teams

The Ravens gave up a 67-yard touchdown on a punt return by Steven Sims in the second quarter, which kept Houston in the game in the first half because the Texans didn’t have much going offensively. But the Ravens opened the third quarter with a 37-yard kickoff return by Devin Duvernay, which led to a 15-yard touchdown run by Jackson. Justin Tucker made field goal attempts of 53 and 43 yards. It was not a good game for punter Jordan Stout, though. Grade: C


The Ravens’ defense played well in the first half and carried the team before the offense took over. A lot of credit goes to defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald. Monken had a strong half with his play calling, and the Ravens found a good way to use newly signed running back Cook. Grade: B-