The beauty of the preseason is that wins and losses do not really matter and the ultimate goal for both teams is to see who can play and try to escape with no injuries. Fortunately for the Baltimore Ravens they escaped with hardly any injury concerns (Tyrod Taylor possible concussion) and saw some guys really showcase their talent.
Baltimore's starters, most of them anyway, played into the third quarter, which provided us with the opportunity to really see what both the offense and defense could look like come week one. Below are the top five performers from Thursday Night's game.
Certainly the most surprising player on the list as Brown, an undrafted free agent wide receiver, got his opportunity to play with the first team offense and took complete advantage of it. Brown reeled in four grabs for 59 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown grab was impressive because it was the type of play Anquan Boldin or Dennis Pitta would make as Brown snagged the ball high, in traffic and over the middle and continued to run after contact into the endzone. With his play on Thursday, Brown made quite an argument for himself in regards to earning a roster spot on this team.
The second wide receiver on this list, which should be music to the ears of Ravens fans as this team has struggled thus far finding viable options in the passing game. Stokley, who was signed just a couple weeks ago, was basically getting his first real taste of this Ravens offense, as week two provided him with a small amount of playing time as he was still learning the playbook. Brandon was impressive for a couple reasons, one is that he ran his routes very well so that Joe Flacco knew exactly where he going to be and secondly, his three catches for 43 yards two of them convert third downs into first downs.
Coming into Thursday Night's game, Rice had rushed for 17 yards on 11 carries so far in the preseason, but he broke out in a big way against the Panthers. Rice carried the ball 16 times for 62 yards and a touchdown. It was good to see Rice find some holes, burst through those holes and break a couple long runs.
Think the life of a roster question mark is easy? Rainey is trying to find a way to make this 2013 roster any way he can, and his efforts on Thursday will go a long way in determining his fate. Rainey ran for 31 yards on just three carries and caught one pass for six yards on the offensive side of the ball. He also had a nice night on special teams as he returned two kickoffs for a 31 yard return average and he also returned one punt for 60 yards. When you add it all up, Rainey was responsible for 128 yards gained on the night, quite an impressive performance from a guy just trying to make the team.
The defense as a whole was extremely impressive on Thursday Night as they only allowed six points to score, if not for the FOUR return touchdowns by the Panthers, this Ravens defense would have been the star of the show. McClellan led the way defensively as he recorded a team high six tackles on the night as well as getting one of the three sacks the defense accrued.
Who did you think was impressive for the Ravens against the Panthers? Did we miss someone? Should one of these five guys not be on the list? Let your voice be heard by posting a comment!
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