By Samuel Njoku
The Ravens looked to build on their momentum from their Week 5 win against the Miami Dolphins. But instead they were dealt a large dose of reality with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in town. Even with the addition of Eugene Monroe to fortify the Ravens offensive line, Baltimore still has major issues to overcome. And with them now sitting firmly at 3-3, the Ravens have become desperate for answers.
Offense Grade: D-
It was the same old story for the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday when the offense took the field. There could be any number of words used to describe the play of the offense, but one word stands out above all others: inconsistent! The Packers did a great job taking Torrey Smith out of the game. It was clear from the start that the game plan coming into the game was to force Joe Flacco to look elsewhere. Such a decision by the Packers would normally result in severe consequences. Paying too much attention to one player can open things up for secondary options such as Jacoby Jones and Ray Rice. But that was not the case in this game.
The running game struggled mightily primarily due to poor blocking up front which has, coincidentally, become a theme for this team this season. Rice was visibly frustrated throughout the game and Baltimore was trying anything they could to get a ground game going. When they decided to pass the ball, Flacco got little to no time in the pocket. Whenever Flacco had time, the receivers were unable to get any separation from their defenders. It was business as usual for the Baltimore Ravens.
Defense Grade: B+
Early in the contest, it appeared as if the Ravens were going to win this game off of their tenacity on defense alone. Baltimore’s front seven made things extremely difficult for Aaron Rodgers for most of the game. The Packers relied on their running game to keep them in it early as the passing game stalled. With both James Jones and Randall Cobb leaving the game early with injuries, it was very important for Green Bay to establish the run with Eddie Lacy. In the second half, things weren’t so great for Baltimore. Aaron Rodgers got into a groove and the Packers offensive line did a much better job in protecting their quarterback.
With the running game being so successful, Rodgers caught Lardarius Webb in a play action pass that led to a touchdown. The defense wore down near the end of the game. And when they needed a stop late in the fourth quarter to give their offense a chance, Eddie Lacy sealed the deal with some big runs to convert third downs. The defense has played stellar so far this season, but there is still work to be done.
Quarterback Grade: B-
Flacco can only do so much without proper protection and a running game to keep the opposing defense honest. For the majority of the season, Joe Flacco hasn’t received much of either. This game was no different. He made some big plays when given the opportunity. A big touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones gave Baltimore life late in the second half. Dallas Clark has become Flacco’s go-to tight end as he finished with four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. But no quarterback can succeed in the NFL without decent protection and the Ravens are sorely lacking in that regard. Some of the blame should go to Flacco at times, but this loss shouldn’t fall on Flacco’s shoulders.
Special Teams Grade: C+
Jacoby Jones had a big return to start the game. And his counterpart Tandon Doss made things happen with the punt unit. It looks like this tandem of returners are here to stay for the foreseeable future. It was interesting that John Harbaugh elected to go for it on fourth down instead of give Tucker a chance to score in the first half. But that decision isn’t up to Tucker. The blocked punt by Sam Koch would have been catastrophic had it not been for the Packers error in touching the ball without holding onto it.
For more Ravens news and updates, visit Ravens Central.
Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. Samuel Njoku is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.