Losing a game is never something an NFL coach wants to do. But the fact that the Ravens lost tonight, considering this is the preseason, shouldn’t concern John Harbaugh too much.
The way in which the Ravens lost is concerning. Baltimore was penalized 17 times for 139 yards, sat embarrassingly on the wrong end of 24-0 halftime score, and lost multiple players to injuries.
Overall this was not a good night for the entire Ravens team.
Joe Flacco had one more completion (3) than he had interceptions, and Matt Schaub was ineffective in just about every aspect of his game. Bryn Renner was the best quarterback on the field for the Ravens, as he engineered an up-tempo offense, which led to Baltimore’s only points of the game. He used ball fakes, threw with conviction, escaped pressure, and got everything out of each play that he could.
I don’t foresee Renner making the team over Schaub, but he’s put two pretty good game tapes together in consecutive weeks, which bodes well for his chances in the event his future isn’t in Baltimore.
Running backs: A-
The one group of players that played well throughout the game for the Ravens were the running backs. From the first snap, Justin Forsett set the tone with a 6-yard run. No matter who the back was, it seemed like that player gained at least four yards on each carry, kept their legs driving, and made the defender pay for trying to tackle them.
It was encouraging to see the Ravens stay committed to the run throughout the game, even though they were losing by multiple scores for most of the evening.
Fitzgerald Toussaint (3 carries, 20 yards) had a couple of nice moves and made a big hit and tackle on special teams. Rookie Terrence Magee (11 carries, 44 yards) ran hard and fast. Magee also caught one pass for 14 yards.
Might the battle for Forsett’s backup now include some new contenders?
Wide receivers/Tight ends: C
It was a pretty non-nondescript game from the wide receivers and tight ends. As a whole they blocked okay and made a couple of catches, particularly the wide receivers (late in the game). Rookies Darren Waller and Daniel Brown each hauled in a touchdown reception, but it was too little, too late. Tom Nelson had a nice second half, though, as he caught two passes for 20 yards–both of which resulted in first downs.
Offensive line: B-
Baltimore’s offensive line battled a rash of injuries, had players playing out of position, and still sustained a strong push for the majority of the game. The Ravens ran for 150 yards, even though their number of pass attempts (46) was greater than their number of rush attempts (33).
They did allow their first sack of the preseason, mid-way thru the third quarter. Although, it seems like Schaub held on to the ball too long on that particular play.
If you think about it, starting the game without Kelechi Osemele and Rick Wagner and sustaining the injuries they did, Baltimore’s offensive line performed admirably. Credit to the players, Offensive Line coach Juan Castillo and Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman for making adjustments on the fly.
Defensive line: D+
You may have expected going into this game that the speed and lateral movement of Philadelphia’s offense would cause match-up problems for the Ravens defensive front. Unfortunately, that premonition proved true.
The Ravens defense line really struggled to get off blocks the entire night, and let the Eagles gash them up the middle, off tackle, and in short yardage. When any team gives up 238 yards rushing and 6.3 yards per carry, that’s alarming. But when that team is the Ravens, that’s flat out unacceptable.
Carl Davis made a couple of nice plays again this week, but even he got blocked out of the play on multiple occasions.
Although this group has a lot of talent, they also have a lot of work to do.
Elvis Dumervil and Arthur Brown each recorded a sack, and C.J. Mosley was outstanding for the short amount of time he played. That being said, like the defensive linemen, the linebackers let their opposition gain too much ground before getting off their blocks and making the tackle.
Granted, they won’t be playing against an offense like this every week, but they need to get better defending in space. Although, as the game went on, Baltimore’s linebackers did a little bit better at filling gaps and limiting big plays.
Defensive Backs: C
The Eagles quarterbacks didn’t try to throw too much, but when they did, Baltimore’s defensive backs did a serviceable job at contesting each play. Cassius Vaughn was a bright spot in the second half, as he played tough, physical football. He should’ve been credited with a fumble recovery, but he was called for pass interference, nullifying the turnover.
Brynden Trawick led both teams in tackles (8) after having a sub-par game last week versus the Saints.
Special Teams: D+
Two things about the special teams stood out: inability to catch kickoffs and allowing a touchdown on a punt return.
It’s baffling how in a position battle that is so wide open, multiple players can bobble kickoffs. There is truly no one that has stepped up to take hold of that position.
Despite Sam Koch‘s strong outing (52.2 yards per punt), the Ravens punt coverage was horrible. When the score was 17-0 Philadelphia late in the second quarter, Baltimore allowed Kenjon Barner to run free for a 68-yard touchdown. Barner averaged 18.8 yards per punt return Saturday night, which is roughly double what a good average is.
Justin Tucker did make all of his kicks, including a 48-yard extra point, but the lack of coverage on special teams overshadowed what he and Koch accomplished.
- Clean up the penalties.
- Arthur Brown and Cassius Vaughn: Follow your solid performance with an excellent week of practice.
- Defensive linemen: Get off blocks at the line of scrimmage.
- Offensive linemen: Get some rest.
Next exam: Saturday, August 29, vs. the Washington Redskins