Mike Preston’s report card: Position-by-position grade for Ravens’ 16-13 overtime loss to Steelers

Here’s how the Ravens ranked each after a 16-13 over-loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday in the regular season finale at M&T Bank Stadium:


Tyler Huntley seemed unmatched and at times tried to do too much, which got him and the Ravens in trouble. He steered the ball well (12 carries for 72 yards), but threw two interceptions and failed to correct a fumble after a poor snap when he should have hit the ball. The problem with Huntley is that he’s just a read player. If the starting receiver is not open, he struggles to get to his No. 2 option without panic. Opposing teams have figured out that tight end Mark Andrews is their go-to. Huntley needs to learn to find other open receivers. Grade: D

rushing back

As in last week’s against the Los Angeles Rams, the Ravens’ running back dominated the second half and was able to get a few yards by bouncing outside the tackle. But Latvius Murray’s big play was just the middle run in which the Ravens beat the Steelers head-to-head. The big question is, what did it take so long for the Ravens to run the ball? Pittsburgh came into the game with one of the worst run defenses in the NFL, and the Ravens didn’t get off to a fast start until the second half. The Ravens finished with 249 rushing yards, most of which came in the second half. grade A

offensive line

Right guard Kevin Zeitler has been the team’s best offensive lineman and it showed again on Sunday. He dominated the attack and made some good blocks in the second half of the game. The rest of the group was as shaky as ever, even though the right tackle Patrick Macery put on a solid performance while battling an injury. Center Bradley Bozeman had a poor snap in the shotgun formation early in the game, leading to a foul. Rookie left guard Ben Cleveland has trouble bending over and is not a pass blocker. Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva stopped several times, but the Ravens couldn’t count on him week after week to stop the other team’s top pass rush. The Ravens at least played the ball well. Grade: C-


Apart from Andrews, the Ravens don’t get their other receivers in the mix. Andrews is a great weapon, but Huntley has tunnel vision when looking his way. The Marquis Brown is tricky because it is hard to predict which Brown will appear from game to game. He certainly hasn’t been a major performer since starting quarterback Lamar Jackson suffered an injury on December 12 against the Browns. His fall into the end zone at the end of the first half is unacceptable, and so was his drop of a deep pass along the right edge in the final minute of regulation. He cannot be considered as the No. 1 receiver. Again, Huntley did not include other receivers like Rashod Bateman or Brown, who took five catches for 52 yards. Grade: D

defensive line

These guys were stellar from the front, especially defensive end Kallis Campbell. He was strong against runs and in the chase, finished with six tackles, including one for defeat. Nose tackle Brandon Williams (six tackles) was also strong against the run and the Steelers could not take him to the middle of the field. Pittsburgh had only 79 rushing yards on 30 carries, and many of those yards came on end-arounds by receiver Chase Claypool. Both Campbell and Williams have played well in their final seasons in Baltimore in recent weeks. Grade: B+


Outside linebacker Tyes Bowser was playing well until he injured his ankle in the second half. Outside linebacker Justin Houston also found good pressure and forced quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to step up several times, but the Ravens don’t have a leading pass rusher, and that hurts. Inside linebacker Josh Bynes had eight tackles and Patrick Queen had three, but Queene has a liability in pass coverage and misses a tackle in the open field. He is not only fake, but also embarrassed. Grade: C+


The Ravens are relieved as Pittsburgh likes to throw short passes with Roethlisberger. Baltimore did a good job of making tackle even on smaller patterns, especially the slant. Safety Chuck Clark made eight tackles and played well at run support. He has also become a presence at the backend in pass defence. Ravens, however, had two easy interceptions and failed to hang onto the ball. Big players make big plays in big games, and the Ravens corner and Safari didn’t take advantage of the opportunities. In times of crisis, they could not accomplish this. Grade: C-

special team

Justin Tucker converted field-goal attempts at 24 and 46 yards, but the Ravens didn’t get much from Sam Koch, who has struggled in recent games. The coach averaged only 38.3 yards on seven punts, and the Ravens’ field position did not improve much in the fourth quarter. Rain and a heavy ball hurt the punters, but the coach has always done well regardless of the weather conditions. Returner Devin DuVernay appeared off to break the kickoff return, but could not get past that first wave. But at least he was running north and south instead of east and west. Grade: C+

to teach

The crows were physically and mentally prepared for this game. If they weren’t there would be some serious problems. Offensively, it’s hard to understand why it took coordinator Greg Roman so long to run the ball. The interception on a pass to Andrews in the end zone at the start of the fourth quarter was a big mistake. Defensively, the game plan was perfect, and for the most part the Ravens controlled the Steelers’ offense. But in the end, they couldn’t make a play and the Steelers were undeniable. It is not coaching but the result of the missing of a game-changing player like cornerback Marcus Peters or Marlon Humphrey, even though Humphrey struggled this season before getting injured. Grade: C-