Defensively, the Ravens were lights out in their 34 to 27 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Offensively, outside of the first drive, the first team offense struggled. The first team gave up 3 turnovers, 2 of which were returned for touchdowns. You know what though? As bad as it was, it doesn’t count, because it’s preseason! In all seriousness, the third preseason game is the most important of all of them, often called the “dress rehearsal” for the new season, the starters go longer and plays are actually meaningful. Now, the Ravens’ offense didn’t play well, but let’s breakdown the game as a whole, taking the good and the bad.
Boy, oh, boy, did the defense look good, even the second and third teams. The defense kept the Carolina offense to 173 yards and 3 points. The defensive line continues to look dominant; Haloti Ngata and ChrisCanty look like they can eat offensive lines for breakfast. Terrance Cody and Brandon Williams, who recorded a sack, are in a heated battle for playing time in the middle. Daryl Smith looks like he’s in Pro Bowl form in the middle of the preseason, he also recorded a sack. Lardarius Webb made his preseason debut and played tight coverage and had nice pass deflection on a comeback route. James Ihedigbo got the start at Strong Safety and looks determined to win the job over Rookie Matt Elam. Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, and Courtney Upshaw all got great pressure on Cam Newton and made some nice stops.
On the first drive Joe Flacco went 5 for 5 with 45 yards. The rest of the game he went 14 for 20 with 124 yards and 1 Touchdown and 2 interceptions. Not exactly want you want to see out of your 120 million dollar Quarterback, but it still is preseason and one of his interceptions was on Tandon Doss, who ran a bad route. Flacco did look good on both the drives they used the no huddle, which both ended with the Ravens scoring. Flacco also started throwing the ball a bit farther down field, he didn’t attempt a pass over 10 yards in the first 2 preseason games.
The story of the night has to be undrafted Wide Receiver Marlon Brown. Brown caught 4 passes for 59 yards and 1 touchdown. The touchdown pass Brown caught was tough catch over the middle next to Carolina’s Safety. Brown ran some nice routes and made some nice catches every time the ball was thrown his way. Brown looks like he can be a dark horse candidate for a Wide Receiver position up for grabs
I didn’t realize how much Guard Marshal Yanda meant to the offensive line until tonight. The very first play of the game, the Ravens ran Ray Rice, who ended the night with 16 carries, 62 yards, and 1 touchdown, up the right side behind Yanda for 13 yards, something that was impossible last week. After Yanda left in the second quarter the offense started to struggle and his replacement, Jah Reid, was unable to pick up the slack. Somebody needs to be yelled at because to very obvious Reid cannot play Guard that well and yet, they keep playing him there, with his height and size, he belong at the Tackle position. Gradkowski pretty much locked up the Center job tonight; he looked really impressive on some runs up the middle. Alternatively, Kelechi Osemele did not have a good night at Left Guard; he kept getting beat by the Panther first round draft pick, Star Lotulelei. I would put too much thought on Osemele’s night; Lotulelei is a top talent that I think a lot of linemen will have problems against.
Follow Cody on Twitter @The_OtherCody.