A division loss in embarrassing style leaves the Ravens sitting at 5-4 and 11th in the AFC for playoff seeding. The second half of the season started off terrible for the Ravens, but let's see exactly how bad as we give out week 9 grades.
Defensive Line: B
The defensve line performed incredibly well in the running game, holding Le'Veon Bell to only 20 yards and LeGarrette Blount to only 23 yards, both having 10 carries each. However, with the Steelers throwing the ball as well as they did, running the ball was simply a change of pace for their offense and less of a focal point. The defensive line was able to get pressure on Ben Roethlisberger to start the game, notching 1.5 sacks. Timmy Jernigan showed another flash of being an absolute beast, pushing his man 5 yards and into the running back; a type of play that just doesn't happen in the NFL unless you are something special.
The linebackers started the game looking great, getting pressure on Ben Roethlisberger. However, as the game wore on, the linebackers got exposed in coverage, with C.J. Mosley often getting out of his break late to cover Le'Veon Bell. Mosley and Daryl Smith both had moments where they were able to blow up plays followed by moments where they looked lost and slow, but did finish with 9 tackles a piece. Terrell Suggs looked absolutely awful the later into the game he got and made an ass out of himself by spending more time on the sidelines laughing and poking fun at fans while the team was struggling and down by 19 points. You expect more out of your veterans than that.
Defensive Backs: F
The only positive was that cornerback Lardarius Webb started the game well enough, with tight coverage. After the first few drives, the entire secondary fell apart at the seams. as we already know, the Ravens have gutted the secondary and have brought in new players to help light a fire under this unit. Without Jimmy Smith, the secondary looks doomed to repeat this performance. Just like last week, Lardarius Webb either looks like he is still majorly injured or that he hit the wall where his play is dropping at a fast rate. It is clear that the Ravens will have some tough decisions to make this offseason on who to keep and how to revamp the absolute weakest part of this entire team.
Special Teams: A
Kicker Justin Tucker was again perfect, but that is pretty standard for him. Jacoby Jones didnt fumble anything and in fact, he was able to return a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown. However, that touchdown return was less on Jacoby Jones as it was on the other 10 Ravens players on the field for blocking until the whistle and creating a lane big enough where Jacoby could have walked through blindfolded. Punter Sam Koch was brilliant all game long, continuing to push the Steelers deep in their own territory when he had the chance to do so. A much maligned unit, the special teams was a bright spot in an absolute abysmal game.