The Ravens suited up Saturday night against the Redskins in the most recent edition of the “Battle of the Beltway.” With this being the third preseason game, the starters were expected to play at least the first two quarters before they presumably rest during next week’s preseason finale. This was the last chance to see the starters out there before week one versus Cincinnati.
Before an announced crowd of just over 70,000 at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens put on an impressive performance, edging out the Redskins, 23-17. There were many guys who stood out and a lot of pieces that should make Ravens fans feel optimistic. Here are my notes and observations from last night’s game:
Steve Smith, Sr.Embed from Getty Images
If the Ravens get the guy who played today for a full 16 games, watch out! He played just one half and hauled in 6 catches, 80 yards, a touchdown and showed impressive elusiveness escaping tacklers on a 30-yard reception in the first quarter. Smith has enormous talent for sure, and I’m excited to see what the Smith & Smith combo can produce in 2014. Of course, this is all set up by….
The Kubiak Offense & Passing gameEmbed from Getty Images
The offense looked very smooth today. Joe Flacco had a great feel for the offense and seemed to always find the right place to put the football. He spread the ball around, hitting all the top targets in Smith Sr, Smith, Pitta, Juice (it’s easier to just say Juice).
Flacco appeared confident at the line and in the pocket. Kubiak has already put his stamp on the offense, and so far, the results look good. Kubiak made excellent in-game adjustments as the Redskins started putting more and more guys up near the line of scrimmage. On the flip side, however, the passing game is not going to be effective without a good…
Where was it? While the Redskins did begin to stack the box, the lack of a running game tonight has to be a concern, given last year’s enormous struggles. Bernard Pierce ran four times for -3 yards, Lorenzo Taliaferro ran 11 times for just 25 yards and Justin Forsett rushed seven times for 30 yards. If this team is going to make the playoffs, they have to be able to pound the rock. Of course, it’s a lot easier to do well running the ball with a good performance from the…
This was arguably the worst performance this preseason from the offensive line. Any kinks need to be worked out ASAP, especially considering the Ravens start the season with three straight divisional matchups. Flacco was sacked twice in just one half of play.
Although one could be argued as a coverage sack, the front office isn’t going to be happy to see their $120 million man on his back. They weren’t terrible by any means, but there’s definitely room for improvement before the Bengals come in to town Sept. 7.
DefenseEmbed from Getty Images
After struggling at times in the first two preseason games, especially at cornerback, the Ravens defense was spectacular last night. They yielded just three points to the Redskins’ first team offense and sacked Robert Griffin III three times. RGIII managed just 20 yards passing and was intercepted by C.J. Mosley on a deflected pass. Alfred Morris and Roy Helu combined for 13 carries and 59 yards.
Keep an eye on him this year. I think he’s going to be special.
Justin TuckerEmbed from Getty Images
Random stat: Since John Harbaugh became head coach of the Ravens in 2008, the Ravens are 18-9 in preseason games overall and 17-6 overall since going 1-3 in 2008. I have no idea if this means anything at all… purely an observation.