Vikings vs. Ravens: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Baltimore

Shehan PeirisCorrespondent IIIDecember 9, 2013

Vikings vs. Ravens: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Baltimore

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    It wasn't pretty, but the Baltimore Ravens' 29-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings sure was exciting. Baltimore avoided disaster by pulling out the last-second win to hold onto its playoff spot, but the Ravens didn't play particularly well.

    The defense gave up huge plays that should have cost Baltimore the game, and the offensive line didn't block well in the running game.

    On the contrary, the special teams unit was spectacular and largely responsible for the win. But nobody stepped up in the moment more than Joe Flacco.

    He didn't start the game too well and ended with three interceptions, but his poise at the end of the game demonstrated why the Ravens invested such a hefty sum in their quarterback.

    In addition, Ray Rice had one of his best games of the season and picked up 109 total yards. Joining him with a standout offensive performance was Marlon Brown, who led the team in receiving yards and scored the game-winning touchdown.

    Check out the full breakdown and analysis for every Raven, complete with grades based on their statistical output and how well they fulfilled their roles and duties on the gridiron.

Quarterbacks

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    Joe Flacco: B+

    Stats: 28-of-50 (56% completion) for 245 yards (4.9 YPA), 3 TDs, 3 INTs, 64.2 passer rating

    Flacco couldn't find his rhythm early on and his numbers are mediocre, but his late-game performance was exceptional and won the game for Baltimore.

    The three interceptions were costly in a low-scoring game (for the first 58 minutes at least), and he struggled to move the ball for most of the game. Regardless, he stepped up to lead the Ravens on not one, but two game-winning drives late in the fourth quarter.

Running Backs

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    Ray Rice: B+

    Stats: 17 carries for 67 yards (3.9 YPC), 5 receptions for 42 yards

    This stat line would be a fairly mediocre Rice performance in any other year, but it's one of his best games of 2013. His rushing average was still held under four, but he was able to break some long plays and had three double-digit gains.

    In addition to his work on the ground, Rice was effective in the passing game. Overall, it was a very good performance by the starting running back.

     

    Bernard Pierce: D

    Stats: 7 carries for 12 yards (1.7 YPC), 1 reception for 5 yards

    Bernard Pierce was used as a change-of-pace back, but he was very ineffective. The second-year player was supposed to have a breakout year, but he's been hamstrung by an ineffective offensive line.

Wide Receivers

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    Torrey Smith: D

    Stats: 1 reception for 11 yards, 1 two-point conversion

    Against a suspect secondary that gave up 249 receiving yards to Alshon Jeffery last week, it was very disappointing that Torrey Smith couldn't do more than one catch. Obviously, some of that was due to the weather conditions, but he needs to be more involved.

    Some of the blame needs to go to offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell. Smith has been less involved with shorter routes, and Baltimore needs to get him touches early on in every game.

     

    Jacoby Jones: B

    Stats: 4 receptions for 37 yards

    Jacoby Jones' involvement in the offense has grown over the past few weeks, and he's made some important plays for the Ravens offense.

    Flacco was looking his way quite a lot, and the speedy wide receiver delivered the goods on shorter routes.

     

    Marlon Brown: A

    Stats: 7 reception for 92 yards, 1 TD

    Brown was spectacular against the Vikings and made plays throughout the game. Any discussion of his performance needs to start with his game-winning touchdown. It was a fantastic catch where he managed to high-point the ball and barely get both feet down in bounds.

     

    Brandon Stokley: C

    Stats: 1 reception for 2 yards

    Stokley didn't see the field much, and his spot in the receiver pecking order is firmly behind the aforementioned players.

Tight Ends

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    Dennis Pitta: A+

    Stats: 6 receptions for 48 yards, 1 TD

    Maybe that high grade is partially due to pure excitement that Dennis Pitta is back on the field, but he deserves it. The fact that he's playing again so soon after such a devastating hip injury is remarkable, but he was fantastic for the Ravens.

    He saw 11 targets in limited action and made a number of terrific plays (including an acrobatic diving catch shown above).

     

    Ed Dickson: B

    Stats: 2 receptions for 8 yards, 1 TD

    It was somewhat ironic that Ed Dickson scored his first touchdown of the year in the same game that Pitta made his debut. He was expected to step up to replace Pitta, and that never happened. Now, perhaps he can be an excellent No. 2 tight end behind Pitta.

Offensive Linemen

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    Eugene Monroe: B

    Stats: 1 holding penalty, 0 sacks allowed

    Eugene Monroe was pretty good locking down the left side of the offensive line. He's consistently been excellent as a pass-blocker on the blind side, but he does need to get better in the ground game (although that's true for every Ravens lineman).

     

    A.Q. Shipley: C-

    Stats: 0 penalties, 0 sacks allowed

    A.Q. Shipley (and the rest of the interior linemen) struggled to get any push in the running game against a Minnesota defense that has struggled against the run.

     

    Gino Gradkowski: C

    Stats: 1 holding penalty, 0 sacks allowed

    Gino Gradkowski's holding penalty negated a nine-yard run by Rice, but other than that, he's coming along well. He's getting better as the anchor of the offensive line.

     

    Marshal Yanda: C+

    Stats: 1 false start penalty, 0 sacks allowed

    Marshal Yanda played well, but he got beaten a couple of times and couldn't hold a few blocks in the running game.

     

    Michael Oher: C-

    Stats: 1 holding penalty, 0 sacks allowed

    Michael Oher struggled as a run-blocker, as he has all year, and his status with the Ravens beyond this season is unclear.

Nose Tackles

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    Haloti Ngata: B

    Stats: 1 tackle

    As usual, Haloti Ngata's impact went beyond the numbers. He was drawing double-teams and eating up blockers, which helped his teammates.

    That said, Ngata hasn't put together a complete performance. He usually makes a big play early in the game and blows up a run at the line of scrimmage, but he doesn't sustain that dominant level of play for a whole game.

     

    Terrence Cody: C+

    Stats: 2 tackles (1 solo)

    Terrence Cody made some plays in the running game, and he's bounced back from a disappointing 2012 campaign. His improved strength and movement is evident, and he is still a force against the run.

Defensive Ends

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    Arthur Jones: A-

    Stats: 5 tackles (1 solo), 1 TFL

    Arthur Jones played extremely well against the run. His strength and ability to stand his ground at the line of scrimmage disrupted a number of running plays and bottled up Adrian Peterson early in the game. 

     

    Chris Canty: B-

    Stats: 2 tackles, 2 passes defended

    Chris Canty has used his size to deflect passes at the line of scrimmage, but he also showed excellent range by getting out to the sideline and breaking up another pass.

     

    DeAngelo Tyson: C-

    Stats: 0 tackles

    DeAngelo Tyson didn't make his mark in the box score, but he had a spectacular chance to blow up Peterson for a loss. Unfortunately, Peterson plowed through him and fought back to the line of scrimmage.

    That's not something we'll hold against him, however, since the game's best defenders have been embarrassed by Peterson.

Inside Linebackers

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    Daryl Smith: B

    Stats: 7 tackles (1 solo), 2 passes defended

    Daryl Smith's coverage ability is excellent, as he showed by getting his hands on a couple of passes. It took an entire team effort to corral Peterson while he was in the game, and Smith is the leader of the Ravens defense.

     

    Jameel McClain: C+

    Stats: 2 tackles (1 solo)

    Jameel McClain has struggled against the run this year, but he played fairly well against the Vikings rushing attack. 

     

    Arthur Brown: C+

    Stats: 3 solo tackles

    Brown made some good tackles in the open field.

Outside Linebacker

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    Terrell Suggs: B+

    Stats: 6 tackles (5 solo), 1 TFL

    Terrell Suggs came very close to ending his sack drought, but Matt Cassel fell forward over the line of scrimmage. Suggs may not have been able to end the dry spell, but he played well on the outside and did a great job against the run.

     

    Courtney Upshaw: C-

    Stats: 1 tackle, 1 pass defended, 1 QB hit, 1 roughing the passer penalty

    Courtney Upshaw stepped into a more prominent role with Elvis Dumervil inactive, but he was fairly average. He couldn't generate pressure on Matt Cassel and committed a costly personal foul that gave the Vikings a free 15 yards.

     

    Pernell McPhee: C+

    Stats: 1 tackle

    Pernell McPhee did a good job working off the edge to create some pressure and forced Cassel out of the pocket.

     

    Albert McClellan: C

    Stats: 2 solo tackles

    Without Dumervil in the lineup, Albert McClellan saw significant action with the defense in addition to his role on special teams. He made a couple of tackles in the running game but was not too impactful.

Cornerbacks

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    Lardarius Webb: B

    Stats: 5 solo tackles, 4 passes defended

    Cassel threw at Lardarius Webb quite a lot, and Webb was up to the challenge for the most part. He allowed some completions and missed a couple of tackles, but he also broke up four passes.

     

    Jimmy Smith: B+

    Stats: 1 solo tackle, 1 pass defended

    Jimmy Smith wasn't tested too much, and he played a solid game.

     

    Corey Graham: B

    Stats: 2 tackles (1 solo), 2 passes defended

    Corey Graham played well against Minnesota, and he tackled well.

Safeties

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    James Ihedigbo: A-

    Stats: 12 tackles (7 solo), 1 TFL, 1 pass defended, 1 QB hit, 1 fumble forced

    James Ihedigbo played a great game and was solid in every phase. He got the lone unpenalized hit on Cassel, forced the fumble on Toby Gerhart and was great against the run and in coverage.

    He combined with Matt Elam to miss a tackle that led to Gerhart's touchdown run, but overall it was an excellent game by Ihedigbo.

     

    Matt Elam: B

    Stats: 3 tackles (2 solo), 1 fumble recovered

    Elam recovered Gerhart's fumble (questionable as that ruling was) and played a pretty good game. He almost came up with an interception as well. Elam had the chance to stop Patterson's touchdown, but he slipped and fell.

    Given the conditions, we can't hold that play against him and he had a solid game.

Specialists

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    Justin Tucker: B

    Stats: 0-of-0 FG, 3-of-3 XP

    Justin Tucker didn't extend his streak of 27 consecutive made field goals, but that was due to the weather and a Ravens offense that couldn't get into field-goal range for most of the day. He didn't have much work to do against the Vikings.

     

    Sam Koch: A+

    Stats: 6 punts for 328 yards (54.7 average), 2 touchbacks, 2 inside 20

    Sam Koch was excellent in the bad weather, booming kicks down the field and helping Baltimore control field position for most of the game.

     

    Jacoby Jones: A+

    Stats: 4 punt returns for 44 yards (11.0 average), 4 kick returns for 152 yards (38.0 average) and 1 TD

    Jones has assumed punt return duties, and he looked good in that role against Minnesota with a long return of 22 yards.

    He made his mark in as a kick returner, however, and scored a 77-yard touchdown in that crazy fourth quarter.