Final score: Panthers 34, Ravens 27
Game recap: The Ravens were done in by three turnovers that the Panthers converted into 21 points. Joe Flacco threw two interceptions, including a 71-yard pick-six to Drayton Florence. Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw a pick-six to D. J. Moore. Bernard Pierce fumbled deep in Ravens’ territory after being stripped by Luke Kuechly, leading to a two-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Thomas Davis. By halftime, the Ravens were down 24-7, as their first team offense was outplayed for the second consecutive week. This time, their rally fell short.
Key moment: Flacco’s second interception late in the second quarter. At that point, the Ravens only trailed 21-7, and they had driven to the Panthers’ 10-yard line. Had the Ravens completed the drive with a touchdown, they would have only trailed by seven points, and the first team could have felt much better about its performance. Instead, Flacco threw a poor pass over the middle intended for tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. Kuechly read it, stepped in front of Shiancoe, and made a nice play. Flacco has thrown three interceptions during the preseason. If his chemistry with this year’s receivers is not as good as last year’s, it could lead to more mistakes.
Injury front: Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor took a hard hit on a fourth-quarter scramble and went to the locker room to be evaluated. There was no immediate word on his status.
Ravens players of the game:
Offense: Marlon Brown, WR An undrafted rookie, Brown had four catches for 59 yards, including a beautiful snag on a 24-yard touchdown reception. Brown has size (6-foot-5) and sure hands, which is not a bad combination. He is very much in the picture to make the 53-man roster.
Defense: Daryl Smith, ILB He had three tackles and a sack in the first half, and was flying around the field like he was 21 years old. Joining the Ravens seems to have rejuvenated Smith’s career. He could be one of their most important pickups this offseason.
Brandon Stokley is a keeper. He was targeted three times, and made three catches for 43 yards, including one for 27 yards. Stokley could be the possession slot receiver the Ravens sorely need. He looked like he had been playing with Flacco for years, and he got open. Can’t see how Stokley is not on the 53-man roster. On the tight end front, Shiancoe (two catches, 21 yards) looked better than Dallas Clark, who did not make a catch. Clark needs to pick it up, because his roster spot is not guaranteed.
From the locker room
Joe Flacco “We obviously turned the ball over. With what we did tonight, we’re not going to win a lot of football games doing that.”