The Baltimore Ravens used a three touchdown fourth quarter to complete the 27-23 comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the preseason home opener. Unfortunately the starting offense looked pretty abysmal.
Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, while CB Asa Jackson returned a punt for a touchdown and the go ahead score to give the Ravens a 27-23 come from behind victory in front of the home crowd for the first time in 2013.
The starters played most of, if not all of the first half and the offensive starters needed to.
Quarterback Joe Flacco said it best after the game when asked about the starting offense’s effort:
“We were just sloppy. We never got into a rhythm. We just weren’t good, and we didn’t play well.”
There is no other way to put it than the way Flacco did, and he was exactly right. Even though he and Torrey Smith hooked up for a 77 yards catch and run touchdown, the starting offense did not generate any ball movement whatsoever. The starters basically played the entire first half and only managed three first downs, 13 yards rushing and seven points.
Smith’s 77 yard touchdown reception was simply a showcase of his speed as he caught a quick slant route about seven yards beyond the line of scrimmage and simply out ran the defense all the way to the endzone. Flacco finished his night completing seven of nine passes for 118 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
The starting defense did not fare much better in the first half either as the Ravens trailed 20-7 at halftime. The real issue for the defense last night was twofold; first off they had a rough time trying to stop the Atlanta running game and Stephen Jackson. Secondly, WR Julio Jones absolutely abused Ravens CB Jimmy Smith.
Smith’s performance was abysmal, and couldn’t come at a worse time as Corey Graham is gradually taking Smith’s starting spot on the football team and is even ahead of him now on the depth chart. Smith, the 2011 first round selection, has had a rough preseason thus far which included last night when Jones caught three passes for 55 yards and a touchdown on one drive with Smith covering him.
The good news for the Ravens is that their second team played very well and found a way to come back and win the football game, but more importantly the team emerged from the game without any major injuries.
Head Coach John Harbaugh was not pleased with the way the starters played in the first half.
“The first half was about as poorly as we could play. I can’t remember us playing worse since we came here.”
He also went on later to talk about the lack of fundamental play,
“We didn’t stop the run, we didn’t run the ball well, we’re better than that.”
Bottom line is that the Ravens did win the football game 27-23, and the redzone defense was once again terrific. Yes, the Ravens have some things they need to work on, but what team doesn’t?
Be sure to check back tomorrow as we will take a look at some of the bright spots from last night’s game with the five best performances of the night.
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