Thoughts And Observations: Ravens Vs. Falcons Preseason Week 2
Written by BSR Contributor: Cody Colston
Hey all! I’m filling in for Matt Lund for your weekly Ravens’ post game thoughts and observations. The Ravens narrowly beat the Falcons 27 to 23; the Falcons scored 20 unanswered points after the first team defense struggled. The first team offense could not keep up and was only able to score 7 points in the first half. “That was the worst first half of football I’ve ever seen,” head coach John Harbaugh said of the first half. In the second half, the Ravens’ second string offense scored 20 unanswered points to win the game. I completely agree with what Harbaugh said but let’s break down the game as a whole, not just point fingers at the offense.
Offensive Line Looked Lost During The Run
Ray Rice managed 10 yards on 8 attempts. It’s pretty hard to get anymore yardage when you’re facing a defender in the back field on every snap. The line looked like it is missing the presence of Pro Bowl guard Marshall Yanda. His replacement, until he returns, Jah Reid, looked stiff at Guard and I wish the coaching staff would stop trying to play him there, at 6’ 7” he belongs playing Tackle. A.Q. Shipley got the start on the first team and looked exactly what he was picked up for, depth. Shipley was called for two penalties for 20 yards. Gradkowski came in after the first half and looked sharp, hard to believe he won’t get the starting job. Most of the lines problems came run-blocking, but during passing situations Joe Flacco and Tyrod Taylor were almost untouched.
The Secondary Was Picked On
A high octane passing offense consisting of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Roddy White did exactly what you would expect them to do, pass the ball, and the Ravens couldn’t do anything about it. Julio Jones beat Corner Jimmy Smith for three catches, 55 yards, and a touchdown. Most of the big plays by the Falcons seemed to come from the underneath pass or over the middle, not a good sign for the Ravens’ safeties. The only bright spots on the Ravens’ secondary were corner Chykie Brown and rookie Matt Elam; both always seemed to be around the ball.
ILBs Keep Looking Strong
Daryl Smith is out to prove something, racking up six tackles and one pass deflection. Josh Bynes and Albert McClellan also recorded five tackles. Arthur Brown and Adrian Hamilton were mixed in as well. All of them are very good at swarming to the ball and clogging holes up the middle. Very strong linebacker play from the Ravens almost makes you forget about the retirement of Ray Lewis. Smith and Bynes seem to be the favorite to start if Jameel McClain’s recovery takes longer than expected.
Wide Receivers Still Looking Lost
Three catches out of 12 targets for wide receivers not named Torrey Smith. Jacoby Jones was out of position and that caused Flacco’s only interception. Tandon Doss had a great catch over the middle that he fumbled but was overturned; he ended the night with a five yard catch for a touchdown. LaQuan Williams almost had an amazing catch over a Falcons defensive back but a costly route running error later in the game caused an interception in the red zone. Recent signee Brandon Stokley lined up a couple times in the slot but did not catch anything and was not targeted. This is a huge question mark for the Ravens offense moving forward.
- Tyrod Taylor keeps on impressing, 83 yards passing and two touchdowns including a 40-yard bomb to Aaron Mellette. The Ravens used a lot of option plays with Taylor which resulted in 5 carries for 15 yards. “I like it because it put pressure on the defense,” Taylor said of the options.
- Matt Furstenberg had 2 catches for 23 yards and looked more impressive than veteran Visanthe Shiancoe, who dropped his only target on the first drive of the game. Dallas Clark has yet to been seen on the field with the Ravens.
- Ohio State OLB John Simon got his first sack on QB Sean Renfree. Simon was thought to be a steal when drafted, coming off a year where he won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Simon finished the game with five tackles and a sack.
- Asa Jackson returned a punt for a 77-yard touchdown. Jackson was suspended the first 8 games of the season for his second violation of the NFL’s PED policy. Jackson finished the game with a team leading seven tackles and played very good coverage for the small amount of time he played.
- Kyle “Juice” Juszczyk saw more time in the back field and even caught a pass for 15 yards from Tyrod Taylor. “Juice” seems like a capable blocker, it’ll be interesting to see how he’s used for the remainder of the preseason and the regular season.
Follow Cody on Twitter @The_OtherCody.