Joe was almost perfect-but there were a couple of mis-fires early that had me a bit concerned. He threw low to Derrick Mason on a slant that would have been 12 yards if he had put the ball where he was supposed to. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, but give Joe’s struggles to put the ball in the best possible spot for his receiver-it had me cringe. Also, the Ravens again failed to put together a TD drive in the first quarter. But other than those things, Joe was FANTASTIC against a terrible Lions defense, and Troy Smith was fine in mop-up duty.
Running Backs: A-
Very similar story to the quarterback position here; as these guys were almost perfect. Ray Rice’s early fumble was killer, reminiscent of his fumble a week earlier at Lambeau Field. After that, he was on pace for a historic day, as he put up over 200 yards of offense in just over a half of football. Willis McGahee and Jalen Parmele were effective off the bench, and Le’Ron McClain had some good touches as well.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: B+
The only disappointing thing about this group was the fact that it looked early on like Derrick Mason was the only one on the field. The fact that Kelley Washington started the game and finished with zero catches is almost unfathomable. Credit Demetrius Williams for a big catch, which gave him as many big catches Sunday as he’s had in 2 seasons.
Offensive Line: A+
Is there a grade higher than this? The O-Line was OUTSTANDING from start to finish. All of the backs had room to run, and Joe Flacco went virtually untouched. The most impressive thing about Sunday’s performance is clearly the play of Michael Oher at LT and the play of Oniel Cousins in his NFL debut at RT. But Ben Grubbs, Marshal Yanda and Matt Birk were equally outstanding as well.
Defensive Line: B
If there was a unit that was “disappointing” on Sunday, it was the D-Line. Kevin Smith routinely had room to run, and Daunte Culpepper had time to throw throughout the game. They weren’t bad, they just didn’t play as well as we would have liked against a lesser opponent and an offensive line they should have had their way with.
A solid performance from this unit, including Antwan Barnes’ first sack in nearly 2 years. But once again, the Lions were able to run and there wasn’t much of a rush. I thought Terrell Suggs looked okay in his return to the lineup, and I thought Tavares Gooden and Dannell Ellerbe were pretty good as well. Ray Lewis was good too. It was a good performance from the whole unit, but not outstanding.
Arguably the best game all season from this unit. It would even be hard to beat up Domonique Foxworth this week. The one thing I thought the Lions might be able to do is toss the ball up to Calvin Johnson, and they didn’t really even have any success doing that. Credit Lardarius Webb, Chris Carr and Dawan Landry for playing well; and Tom Zbikowski probably played the best game of his young NFL career.
Special Teams: B+
Billy Cundiff didn’t really have to do much, but he made two short field goals. Sam Koch was incredible again-even if he only punted the ball twice. I thought they were good in coverage as well, but I thought they could have gotten more from the return game. The weather may have been a factor there.
I thought there were some strange things that this staff did, including Cam Cameron’s decision to leave Ray Rice in on the first goal line offense situation. My guess is that they just wanted to help build his confidence against a lesser opponent, but it was a bit odd. Defensively, the lack of pressure still has to fall on Greg Mattison. But in a 48-3 win, I’m basically just nit-picking at this point.