The interception by Flacco was meaningless in the grand scheme of things as he has nothing to prove in the preseason. But other than that he did complete 7-of-9 passes in his brief appearance. Tyrod Taylor doesn’t always look extremely comfortable in the pocket, but is an asset when things break down in front of him and is good at extending plays. He showed this on a nice scramble and completion to Visanthe Shiancoe in the red zone.
Running Backs: C+
Bernard Pierce got the Ravens first offensive touchdown of the game with a 20-yard touchdown run, showing good burst down the sideline. Damien Berry made the most of a huge hole that opened up for him in the second quarter for 14 of his 24 first half yards. As expected, Ray Rice didn’t see much action, receiving just three carries.
Receivers & Tight Ends: C-
Not the most encouraging outing for a unit who is seen by many as a possible weak spot for the Ravens. Visanthe Shiancoe led the team with three catches in the first half, not necessarily surprising from the veteran who is a more than adequate pass catcher. Torrey Smith hauled in two passes before exiting. Those who had questions about Jacoby Jones having an increased role in the offense probably wanted to see a bit more than they did, but it’s still very early.
Offensive Line: B
As expected Gino Gradkowski got the start at center and put in a solid shift. A.Q. Shipley didn’t do anything to hurt his chances when in the game either. A good position battle to watch. After not opening many holes early, the unit started to as the first half wore on, springing Berry and Pierce for long runs. Pass protection was decent, allowing just one sack.
Defensive Line: B
Chris Canty made a nice impression in his first action in a Ravens uniform with a sack early. Arthur Jones did a nice job blowing up a play in the backfield. Brandon Williams clogged the middle well, occupying offensive linemen so guys behind him could make plays.
Daryl Smith stood out among this group, flying all over the field. Elvin Dumervil and Courtney Upshaw rotated on running & passing plays, looking like they’ll form solid combo opposite Terrell Suggs. Josh Bynes sniffed out a screen pass well and made a tackle behind the line of scrimmage for a 6-yard loss.
Not a great night for Chykie Brown, who was flagged for two pass interference penalties and got beat for a big gain. Asa Jackson made a good play to break up a pass and intercepted one shortly after. Looks like Jimmy Smith still has trouble locating the ball at times, something that has plagued him in the past. The word on Matt Elam coming out of Florida was that he was a physical safety and he showed it with a near perfect form tackle on Peyton Hillis. The more action he sees in the preseason, the better.
Special Teams: A
Great day for the special teams guys. LaQuan Williams recovered a muffed punt and a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown. Bobby Rainey reeled off a 58-yard kick return, before being taken down by the kicker, but nonetheless did a good job of finding the seam opened by the guys in front of him and exploding through it. Justin Tucker converted on all of his extra point and field goal attempts, no shocker there.
John Harbaugh resisted the temptation to stay with Joe Flacco in order to allow the first team offense to find its rhythm. On a sloppy night, particularly early as the Tampa skies opened, the quick hook was appropriate. Harbaugh and his staff were on point with clock management late in the second half to help pave the way for 14 points during the final minute of play. The Ravens head coach successfully challenged a questionable catch by Vincent Jackson turning a probable 7 points into 3 for the Bucs.
On a sloppy night, sloppy play happens and with it there are usually extra curriculars that follow. Scott Green’s crew did a nice job of policing such activity without altering the flow of the game. A barometer of officiating can often be found in the body language of the head coaches and on Thursday night both Harbaugh and Tampa head coach Greg Schiano were choir boys.
Gerry Sandusky navigated the many technical difficulties and Stan White was on point with his analysis. Qadry Ismail is an unnecessary court jester. The timing of replays and the keys to the game were poorly timed and the scoreboard header didn’t even include a play clock or timeouts remaining indicator. The technical difficulties were somewhat understandable given the weather but even giving consideration to that the overall feel was very minor league and not that of a champion.