Joe Flacco continues to show progress and poise. His escapability was reminiscent of Ben Roethlisberger’s on a first quarter completion to Mark Clayton. He picked up the pace while reading through progressions, perhaps even a little too quickly. At times he looked like he gave up on his primary read a little too soon. His fastball was on target and his release was quick during his 8 for 13, 72 yard effort. He just missed on a nice end zone fade to Demetrius Williams. Casey Bramlet’s performance while not statistically amazing, had to impress most since he’s never practiced with the Ravens and he caught the red eye in from
The third down efficiency of the Ravens has been wretched all preseason. Last night they converted only 3 of 16 third downs and for the entire summer, just 10 of 51. Some of that has to fall on the inefficiencies of this position. Moreover the QB’s need to be more effective in the red zone, a problem that perpetually plagues Ravens’ quarterbacks.
RUNNING BACK: B
Ray Rice continues to make something from nothing although when he had a shot to really make a big play, he stumbled towards the end of his 23 yard run. Rice was barely touched on the run and was dropped by the turf monster. Le’Ron McClain looks pretty nimble for a 260 pound back and Lorenzo Neal helped to spring Rice on his long run with a solid kick out block on the cornerback. Neal looked smooth catching a swing pass from Bramlet but should have powered his way forward along the sidelines instead of dancing back towards the middle of the field. It cost him probably 4-5 yards deep in Falcons territory.
Mark Clayton turned in a solid albeit unspectacular performance with 4 catches. He exhibited some solid change of direction skills to pick up a first down. Nice to see Demetrius Williams back out on the field. He stumbled a bit on a fade route in the end zone that could have produced a score. Williams gets separation and this unit needs it. He also threw a nice block on Falcons’ DB Daren Stone on Rice’s big run. Too many times on passing plays when Flacco had ample time to throw, he couldn’t find anyone open. Matt Willis is a nice player who probably won’t make the team. Justin Harper ran some pretty sloppy routes easily read by DB’s. Daniel Wilcox reminded us why he is a good complement to Todd Heap who played sparingly. Adam Bergen has shown a lot of improvement blocking in the running game and he will be a tough roster decision. Wilcox also made a key block to provide a back side seal for Ray Rice on his 23 yard scamper.
OFFENSIVE LINE: B-
Jared Gaither’s performance was near outstanding given his inactivity over the past few weeks. To go through the game without any setbacks would have been an accomplishment. But Gaither was dominant at times both run blocking and dropping back in his pass sets. He manhandled his man on Rice’s 23 yard run. The interior line played well as they have all preseason. Adam Terry struggled at times in pass protection while setting up against what appeared to be a much quicker defender in Chauncy Davis. That said it wasn’t pretty but nonetheless an effective outing for Terry. David Hale created a gaping hole for Cory Ross on a second and 7 at the Falcons’ 17. The run took the Ravens down to the 4 but the play was negated by an illegal set by Mike Kracalik. The flag set the Ravens back to the 22 with a second and 12. On the very next play instead of looking at a first and goal from the 4, Bramlet was victimized by Falcons’ Thomas DeCoud at the 3 yard line, a pass intended for Wilcox. Hale was later manhandled a few times by Falcons’ DT Kendall Moorehead.
DEFENSIVE LINE: C+
Haloti Ngata and Trevor Pryce were effective in limited action. Justin Bannan had a batted ball at the LOS that could have lead to an interception. Amon Gordon, J’Vonne Parker and Lorenzo Williams fought and hustled for a spot on the team with mixed results
Antwan Barnes held up well at times on the edge to turn plays inside. He also had a batted pass near the Falcons’ goal line. Jarret Johnson had a nice pass deflection covering the Falcons’ tight end Ben Hartsock. Nick Griesen was busy with 10 tackles. Robert McCune can look lost and he’ll be gone. The Ravens will face another tough roster decision with Jameel McClain who is athletic and quick off the edge rushing the passer. He had a sack. Brendon Ayanbadejo played well contributing a big sack but he cost the Ravens a turnover late in the game that would have set them up for a first and 10 from the Falcons’ 20. He needlessly jumped offsides. This group did get sucked in too many times on delays and draws. The Falcons rushed for 135 yards gaining 4.2 yards per attempt.
The secondary held the Falcons to 11 of 26 attempts and Jim Leonhard had a pick. If not for Ayanbadejo’s offsides penalty, he would have had two. That said, the Falcons QB’s were bad particularly Matt Ryan and Joe Harrington and the Falcons receivers are hardly household names. Ronnie Prude was beaten deep by second year receiver Laurent Robinson on a streak down the left sideline. If not for D.J. Shockley’s overthrow, Robinson would still be running. Prude just cannot keep up with speedy receivers. Corey Ivy and Frank Walker were saved by the ineptness of the Falcons offense. Anwar Phillips refused to die without a fight. He had a near pick, a tackle and a batted down pass on three consecutive second quarter plays. But it won’t be enough for a roster spot.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B-
Money Matt Stover hit all three of his field goal attempts to account for all the Ravens scoring, the longest of which was from 48 yards out. His four kickoffs reached the 6, goal line, 11 and 8. The kick coverage team was respectable, holding the Falcons to under 20 yards per return. Punt coverage was solid allowing less than 7 yards per return. Sam Koch average 48.3 yards per punt and netted 37.9. His net was hurt by two touchbacks. The Ravens return teams had their poorest showing of the preseason.
Offense: The Ravens have been extremely poor in the red zone and in third down efficiency (less than 20%). The play calling and reliance upon the fade in the red zone is troubling and the hope here is that they are just trying not to show too much in the preseason. The decision to pull Flacco so early was puzzling, particularly when the guy who got most of the work (Bramlet) will never see the field for the Ravens. If he does, start looking forward to Spring Training. I like the no huddle change of pace approach. I just didn’t like the pacing of it and I certainly don’t like it on third and 2 only to give the ball to McClain on a fullback dive.
Defense: The Ravens are susceptible to delays and draws and opponents are ripping off big chunks of rushing yardage on second and third and long while moving the sticks.
OTHER NOTABLES AND QUOTABLES: "We were pleased early. We got some three-and-outs. Our second group was disappointing at the end of the second quarter. You have to earn a Ravens’ helmet. Some of those guys will make our roster decisions easier." – Rex Ryan… When asked specifically if Kyle Boller has a tear in his shoulder, John Harbaugh declined to elaborate. "The great thing about it is I don’t have to give out that information," Harbaugh said. "We’ll get that to you at another time."…Here’s something you don’t hear Ravens’ QB’s say very often: “I felt ridiculously protected”, said Joe Flacco. “The guys also did a really good job in the run game. [The offensive line] looked outstanding to me."…Ed Reed has come clean about his injury describing it as a neck and shoulder nerve impingement. Corrective surgery he said could be career threatening…Hey, what’s up with the white jerseys at home for two consecutive games?