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Ravens vs. Cardinals: Report card grades

Gather round, grades are in!

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Arizona Cardinals Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens extended their preseason win streak to 22 games on Sunday night, defeating the Arizona Cardinals by a score of 24-17. The Ravens dominated the first three quarters and hung on late despite being outscored 14-0 in the fourth quarter.

Here’s a report card breakdown from the action, with grades for each of the team’s position groups.

Quarterbacks: A

Tyler Huntley again drew the first-half start at quarterback and put together another impressive performance. He was an efficient 13-of-14 on pass attempts and totaled 129 passing yards, a touchdown and a quarterback rating of 129.8. Huntley targeted tight end Isaiah Likely heavily and delivered timely, accurate throws. He extended a couple plays early by scrambling outside of the pocket and throwing across his body for completions.

Anthony Brown took over in the third quarter and got off to a hot start. He threw touchdowns on back-to-back drives, highlighted by an impressive 38-yard strike to wide receiver Raleigh Webb. He threw an interception on the next possession, though, which quickly led to a Cardinals’ touchdown.

All in all, there wereonly four incompletions and one sack taken combined between the two of them. That makes for a high grade.

Running Backs: C

Mike Davis and Justice Hill combined for 23 rushing yards on 11 attempts in the first half. They clearly fought hard for extra yards but there was minimal rushing lanes to be found behind the offensive line. For what it’s worth, they each caught a reception in the passing game.

Tyler Badie similarly found little success in the second half, turning 12 carries into 34 yards on the ground. He did find the end zone via a three-yard reception, though. Nate McCrary had 16 scrimmage yards on two touches before exiting early in the third quarter with an injury.

Tight Ends: A

Likely was the best pass-catcher on either team in this game. The ascending tight end caught all eight of his targets for 100 yards and a late second-quarter touchdown, while five of his receptions were first-down conversions. He was unstoppable against man coverage, found soft spots against zone and created extra yards after the catch.

Nick Boyle, Josh Oliver and Patrick Ricard each caught at least one pass, too, but all near the line of scrimmage for minimal yardage. It didn’t matter much as Likely’s performance alone carries this position group’s grade.

Wide Receivers: C-

The lone Ravens’ wide receiver to make a significant impact was Webb, who caught the 38-yard touchdown pass from Brown. Webb had two catches for 46 yards in total. Other than that, it was a quiet night from the wideout core.

Makai Polk and Shemar Bridges, two UDFA standouts from the preseason opener, each caught just one pass. Bailey Gaither caught two receptions for 18 yards. The tight ends and running backs dominated most of the target share and the receivers’ damage inflicted was very minimal, especially compared to last week.

Offensive Line: C

The starting offensive line group struggled early in the game. Ja’Wuan James and Daniel Faalele’s pass protection left much to be desired at the tackle spots, and the front-five did very little in the way of creating open rushing lanes. No rusher broke off a run of more than 10 yards. Huntley was forced to scramble to evade pressure a few times.

Their performance steadied as the game progressed, though. Only allowing one sack in a recipe the Ravens would like to see on most Sundays. There wasn’t a ton that suggested Ben Powers or Tyre Phillips separated themselves much in the starting left guard competition.

Defensive Line: B+

The Ravens’ front seven largely won the battle at the line of scrimmage. They limited the Cardinals to just 55 rushing yards on 21 attempts, and 15 of those yards came on a quarterback scramble late in the fourth quarter. Arizona’s running backs did little to no damage against the Ravens’ defense.

Three total sacks fail to tell the whole story of the pass rush. The Ravens had nine quarterback hits. Trace McSorley was under duress from Odafe Oweh and Travis Jones often in the first half. Backups Chuck Wiley and Isaiah Mack had a combined five quarterback hits.

Linebackers: C+

Malik Harrison was a standout performer with some timely tackles and highlight hits. He almost single-handedly prevented Arizona from scoring a touchdown late in the second quarter. UDFA Josh Ross also made some nice plays around the ball during his extended action in the second half.

It wasn’t the best performance from Kristian Welch, who was on the wrong end of some poor pass coverage plays. The Cardinals found success attacking the middle of the field in the passing game, although the linebacking core did a play a role in limiting Arizona’s rushing attack, too.

Secondary: B+

There was some good and bad from the Ravens’ secondary in this game. A pair of interceptions by Kyle Fuller and Damarion “Pepe” Williams were notable highlight moments, and the Ravens’ defensive backs generally played sound coverage for most of the game.

Some questionable defensive pass interference calls were blemishes. It wasn’t the greatest performance from Brandon Stephens, who ceded several receptions to wide receiver Andy Isabella in man coverage. Kyle Hamilton had a touchdown-saving pass deflection in the red zone but his missed a couple tackles in the open field, as did Tony Jefferson.

The Cardinals began converting more chunk passing plays late in the second half when the Ravens were leading by multiple scores.

Special Teams: B+

Jordan Stout continues to look the part at punter. His three punts traveled 50, 46 and 58 yards, and his first punt pinned the Cardinals deep at their own three yard line. Justin Tucker connected on his lone field goal attempt and all three extra points.

The Ravens’ kickoff return coverage wasn’t great, as the Cardinals totaled 135 yards on five kick returns. Cardinals’ running back Jonathan Ward ripped off a 48-yard return, which you know John Harbaugh and Chris Horton were not pleased over.