Report card: Defense & Special Teams

Report card: Defense & Special Teams
November 25, 2013, 10:00 am
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Ravens know it's must-win here on out

Nov 24, 2013; Baltimore, MD; New York Jets running back Chris Ivory runs with the ball as Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata tackles in the first half at M&T Bank Stadium.

(Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports)

The Ravens turned in one of the best all-around performances on defense this season in Sunday's 19-3 victory over the Jets. This defense controlled the game and dominated the Jets for most of the afternoon. Here's a report card on their efforts:

DEFENSIVE LINE: B.  Geno Smith got a real good look at this group. And so did the New York running backs and guys like Josh Cribbs. The front line controlled the running game, and while the Jets did rush for 102 yards overall, there was nothing longer than 17 yards, and they kept going to the Wildcat and some trickery to do their job. Arthur Jones and Haloti Ngata were strong up front, and Pernell McPhee got a sack as the pass rush looked solid. 

LINEBACKERS: B. Smith may have even gotten a better peek at these guys. Dumervil got a sack and was in the backfield time and again -- as was Daryl Smith, who had a sack and nearly got a few more. They helped the defensive line throw Smith off his game as the rookie quarterback clearly looked rattled time and again. 

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SECONDARY: A. They kept making plays throughout the game in different ways. Corey Graham twice picked off Smith deep in Ravens' territory. Lardarius Webb, James Ihedigbo and Matt Elam all were strong, especially in coverage. Smith simply couldn't find open receivers to throw to very often -- and when he did, one of the DBs made a tackle pretty quickly. This might have been this group's best effort of the season. 

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SPECIAL TEAMS: A. Justin Tucker will miss a field goal again. Maybe. He hit four more yesterday to stretch his streak to 22 in a row. Those kicks gave the offense a big lift on a day when they had some trouble moving the ball consistently. Sam Koch looked more like himself again with an average of 45.5 yards per kick on six punts, and he dropped three inside the 20 (a fourth one was there but skipped past a Raven at the 1-yard line and into the end zone). Plus, Koch got a 64-yard punt. Jacoby Jones averaged 21.6 yards on five punt returns and really gave the offense a boost.