BALTIMORE – Having already clinched the top seed in the AFC playoffs, the Ravens didn’t play a number of starters in their 17-10 loss to the Steelers on Saturday.
Here’s the Report Card
Quarterback — Ravens backup quarterback Tyler Huntley played for starter Lamar Jackson and was inconsistent. Huntley completed 15 of 28 pass attempts for 146 yards with a touchdown. He also ran the ball eight times for 40 yards. Huntley was missing several playmakers, but he missed some short throws in tough conditions.
Running backs —The Ravens ran for 106 yards on 26 carries. Gus Edwards has fumbled in each of the past two games and the Ravens can’t afford that in the postseason. Justice Hill did not get a carry but was targeted 10 times and finished with three catches for 26 yards. Melvin Gordon had seven carries for 18 yards with a costly fumble.
Receivers — Tight end Isaiah Likely scored another tough touchdown when he broke a tackle and then threw a stiff arm before diving into the end zone. He’s been one of the Ravens’ best players over the second half of the season. Nelson Agholor caught all five of his targets for 39 yards. Second-year tight end tight end Charlie Kolar also had three receptions for 23 yards with a drop. Zay Flowers and Odell Beckham Jr. did not play.
Offensive line — The Ravens struggled to handle the Steelers’ pressure and Huntley was sacked four times. Tackles Morgan Moses and Ronnie Stanley played and finished the game healthy. Guards John Simpson and Ben Cleveland were sometimes overmatched. Starting guard Kevin Zeitler (knee/quad) did not play.
Linebackers — Pro Bowler Roquan Smith did not play but fellow inside linebacker Patrick Queen had another solid game. Del’Shawn Phillips finished with 13 tackles. Outside linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Jadeveon Clowney each had a sack. The highlight was rookie third-round pick Trenton Simpson, who got extensive playing time He finsished with five tackles, including two for a loss, and his first career sack.
Defensive line — The Ravens need their run defense to play better in the postseason. Steelers running back Najee Harris had 112 yards on 26 carries with a touchdown. Most of his success came running between the tackles. Ravens defensive end Justin Madubuike had an uneven performance. Brent Urban missed a couple of tackles.
Secondary — Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph was 18-for-20 for 152 yards with a 71-yard touchdown to Diontae Johnson. The Ravens were missing Kyle Hamilton, Marlon Humphrey and Daryl Worley. Safety Marcus Williams dropped an easy interception in the first quarter and misread the 71-yard touchdown. Rock Ya-Sin also struggled in coverage. Cornerback Brandon Stephen was back in the lineup and should be ready for the playoffs. Overall, this unit contained Pittsburgh except for the long touchdown. Safety Geno Stone left the game with a knee injury.
Special teams — Punter Jordan Stout, a second-year player from Penn State, had one of his best games. He averaged 53.9 yards on seven puts and created solid field position for the Ravens. He had a 66-yard punt early in the game. Kicker Justin Tucker converted his only field goal attempt of 36 yards in the fourth quarter. Coverage was mostly solid.
Coaching — Coach John Harbaugh made the smart move by resting the team’s key players. Coordinators Todd Monken and Mike Macdonald kept the game plan simple. The real planning starts this week.