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Ravens report card - Week 7: Defense/special teams

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The Ravens are now 5-2 after a throttling of the Falcons 29-7. With two in a row, we look at how each group performed this week.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens are now 5-2 after a throttling of the Falcons 29-7. With two in a row, we look at how each group performed this week.

Defensive Line: A

Matt Ryan will remember Pernell McPhee for quite a long time as the fourth year player got two of the five sacks the Ravens had on the day as well as numerous hits on the quarterback. Frequently getting penetration or opening gaps for the linebackers to rush through on passing plays, Haloti Ngata and Brandon Williams played well with the rest of the rotation filling in at a high level themselves. Holding the Falcons to only 68 yards is impressive as is holding down Antone Smith, the running back with the most explosive ability in the Falcons' backfield.

Linebackers: A

Doom and Sizzle made Matt Ryan pee himself all game long. Notching three of the five sacks on the day, with Suggs getting the Ravens' first safety of the year. Daryl Smith quietly had 13 tackles and C.J. Mosley showed more awareness and quickness as he continues to impress every week. Blitzes, dropping in coverage and tackling were all perfect for this group against the Falcons as they put in one of their best outings of 2014.

Defensive Backs: B+

While still the biggest concern on this defense, the secondary did a great job working together to keep Julio Jones and Roddy White down for most of the game. Dominique Franks did surprisingly well even if he occasionally flailed at the receiver instead of being in good position and looking for the ball; he wasn't the liability you would have thought he was going to be. The Ravens used every safety in the building Sunday but they all played their parts well, with the team knowing where each player's strength is at and using it well.

The biggest problem moving forward is teaching the defensive backs how to catch. Several interceptions went through guys' hands and especially Jimmy Smith, who had one hit him right in the hands like he ran the route.

Coaching: A

Great job by Dean Pees in putting together blitz packages that was able to get to Matt Ryan and keep him guessing on where it was coming from. While the Falcons have their issues, they can still put up points in a hurry and keeping them to seven was a solid job from the coaching staff. The biggest thing that I've seen is Pees' knowledge of his personnel, their strengths and weaknesses and how best to use his guys so they aren't caught in a bad spot. It sounds easy, but so many teams have great talent but don't know how to use it properly and are mediocre. Pees is also leading the #1 ranked defense in the league by scoring, which absolutely is something that is on his shoulders this year.

Special Teams: C+

The special teams did a great job of holding Devin Hester to a pretty low return average on both kickoffs and punts. One of the more dangerous returners out there, that is a seriously hard task to do. Seeing Hester go down at the 10 on that opening kickoff was fantastic and shows just how aggressive the whole team is feeling right now. Justin Tucker was able to hit on all of his extra points and field goals for the day while booting the ball for a touchback twice in a nasty wind. Unfortunately, the entire unit gets dinged pretty hard for yet another muffed punt by Jacoby Jones that was picked up by the Falcons. As I've written, this is becoming far too common for Jones.