Report card--defense/special teams

Report card--defense/special teams
December 23, 2013, 11:00 am
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This turned into a Sunday that the Ravens would rather forget as the Patriots scored a 41-7 victory, damaging the team's playoff hopes. The Ravens still can make the playoffs, but they aren't in control of their own destiny any more. Here's a look at this week's report card.

DEFENSIVE LINE: D. They got little to no pressure on Tom Brady, who had oodles of time to just stand back there and pick apart the pass coverage-- and that's not a good thing. But the surprising part is how well the Patriots ran the ball, coming up with 142 yards and often moving it with ease. They kept it on the ground for their entire eight-play, 48-yard drive in the fourth quarter which led to a touchdown that gave them a 27-7 lead. LeGarrette Blount and Stevan Ridley just kept pounding away all game behind a makeshift offensive line that looked much better than advertised. Again, Arthur Jones and Haloti Ngata played well but they needed help.

[RELATED:Ravens report card:offense]

LINEBACKERS: C-. The linebackers did some good things at times as the defense slowed the Patriots for about half the game, but whenever New England needed to, it found a way to move the ball. Terrell Suggs got a sack for the first time in six games and often was around the ball, but Brady was able to get a lot of mid-range passes, especially early in the game and over the linebackers, that helped them score 17 quick points and gain control. 

SECONDARY: D+. Brady finished with only 172 yards passing, his second-lowest total of the season, but most of it came on passes over the middle. He repeatedly found someone open in that area -- which often appeared to be wide open. The Patriots found all kinds of success there., and since Brady had plenty of time to throw, he just kept going back to it. 

SPECIAL TEAMS: C. This day was so bad that even Justin Tucker missed a kick, ending his streak of 33 consecutive field goals. He hadn't missed one since the second game of the season but his 37-yard attempt on this day sailed wide left. Jacoby Jones again had some good kick and punt returns, something that often helps give the struggling offense better field position. The coverage teams kept the Patriots quiet on their returns.