Ray Rice - Baltimore RavensWritten By BSR Contributor: Cody Colston

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.

Airtight Defense

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.

First Drive Flacco

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.

What Can Brown Do For You?

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

Offensive Line Looks Much Better

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.

Other Notes

  • John Simon continues to impress. Simon put a lot of pressure on Cam Newton and chased him out of the pocket more than once. Simon recorded 3 tackles and 1 Quarterback hit.
  • Signees Brandon Stokley and Dallas Clark both made appearances and catches last night. Stokely caught 3 passes for 43 yards and Clark couldn’t haul in both the passes thrown his way. Stokley looked really good out of the slot and seemed very in rhythm with Flacco. Clark looked very rusty; he needs to step up his game to make the roster.
  • Running Back Bernard Pierce looked horrible. He had 10 carries for 7 yards and a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. He had problems getting out of the back field and running into his own linemen, which concerns me.
  • The backup Running Backs, minus Bernard Pierce, looked great. Bobby Rainey had 3 carries for 31 yards, Anthony Allen had 5 carries for 28 yards, and Damien Berry had 3 carries for 15 yards and a touchdown. The Ravens have a habit of carrying 4 Running Backs, so I imagine Raniey and Allen both make the team; they have been the most impressive in previous years.
  • Tyrod Taylor is making the most of his playing time. Taylor finished the night 3 for 4 for 26 yards with an interception and 5 carries for 24 yards. Taylor had some long runs that were called back due to penalties. Taylor also made a great play where he was chased around in the backfield and ended up gaining 2 yards. Taylor was hurt on that run and Head Coach John Harbaugh said he would undergo a Concussion test.

Follow Cody on Twitter @The_OtherCody.