Baltimore Ravens' Week 5 Defensive Grades

By James Taylor III

Grading the defensive performances for the Baltimore Ravens‘ defense after their 9-6 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Defensive Line:    D+

The Chiefs top-ranked rushing offense ran it right down the throats of the Ravens to the tune of 214 yards. The D-line got gashed in the rush game as Jamaal Charles ran for 140 yards and was able to impose his will on most rushes. The D-line did little good or bad against the Chiefs passing game as the unit had no sacks, but the Chiefs only passed 18 times.

Pernell McPhee had two tackles for a loss, while Haloti Ngata had four tackles and did land the hit that knocked Matt Cassel out of the game. That may have been a bad thing, but that is an entirely different topic. Overall the ineffectiveness of this unit against Charles and the run game as well as doing little against the pass, receives a poor grade.

Linebackers:   B-

The second line of the defense was also at fault for allowing so many rushing yards, but the unit made some big plays as well. Three of the five tackles made by Paul Kruger went for a loss as he played his most complete game thus far. Ray Lewis co-led the team with 10 tackles as he seemed to be the first one to greet Charles and Shaun Draughn as they consistently broke through the line of scrimmage.

Courtney Upshaw recovered a Cassel fumble and Jameel McClain had seven tackles, two of which went for a loss. Dannell Ellerbe had his quietest game of the season as he registered only two tackles and was basically a non-factor. The unit made some big plays, but overall they were slightly above average.

Secondary:    A

The Ravens’ pass defense was ranked 29th in the league coming into the game, but got fat on the turnover-prone Cassel. The Chiefs only threw for 124 yards, but more importantly, the secondary got takeaways at opportune times. The biggest play of the game may have been Ed Reed recovering a Cassel fumble in the Ravens’ end zone. Cassel appeared to fumble the snap and the ball squirted into the end zone with Reed emerging with the ball.

Ball-hawk Lardarius Webb had an interception, and the oft-targeted Cary Williams had an interception in his second straight game. Bernard Pollard co-led the team with 10 tackles as each core member of the secondary made an impact. The result was the Ravens’ pass defense jumping seven spots as the ranking is moving in the right direction and becoming more indicative of how this unit has played this season.

Special Teams:    C

The Ravens had a solid day in the punt and punt return department, as Sam Koch had a solid day while the Ravens averaged more yards on punt returns. Deonte Thompson had a major blunder as he fumbled away the opening kickoff in the second half. Thompson was lucky in that the Kansas City drive his fumble started ended in that fateful Cassel fumble going into the end zone. Justin Tucker was his usual reliable self as he scored all nine of the Ravens’ points.

Defensive Coordinator:     B

Dean Pees became another defensive coordinator who couldn’t stop the Chiefs’ rushing attack. Yardage-wise it looks like the Chiefs totally shredded the Ravens defense, but it was the Ravens who actually averaged more yards-per-carry. The Chiefs got to 214 yards rushing on pure volume, as they rushed the ball a staggering 50 times. Had the Ravens attempted to run the ball more, the Chiefs would not have had as many chances to keep running the ball at the Ravens.

Pees’ defense completely shutdown Cassel and the passing game as the Ravens had 4 takeaways to go with the minimal amount of passing yards allowed. Overall the defense allowed over 50 yards less than they had been averaging all season, and the six points allowed was also a season-best.


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