It was beautiful to see the Baltimore Ravens offense gel and take control of the game. After two lackluster preseason games this month, they silenced their critics with a 48-17 win over the Jacksonville Jags Thursday night in Baltimore.
Quarterback Joe Flacco looked sharp and the Ravens finally scored in the red zone, something they didn’t do in the other preseason games.
Flacco was nearly perfect with a 102.3 quarterback rating. He was 27 of 36 for 266 yards with two touchdowns and one interception on a Hail Mary pass. He threw to nine different receivers including Smith, Anquan Boldin and Vonta Leach.
Wide receiver Torrey Smith was targeted most; he caught eight passes for 103 yards before leaving the game early with a lingering ankle injury.
The Ravens had five touchdown drives on 80 yards or more. They were much improved over last season’s Monday Night game against the Jags when Flacco was 21 of 38 for 137 yards.
Jags quarterback Blaine Gabbert completed 11 of 21 attempts and was held to 117 yards. Star wide receiver Justin Blackmon had a good showing with four catches for 72 yards.
While the Ravens secondary did not impress in the first two games, they finally stepped up their game and played more aggressively. Cornerback Lardarius Webb had six tackles and the second team defense had a good showing.
Unfortunately the injury bug got the best of Ed Reed’s backup safety Emanuel Cook, who will miss all season with a broken leg.
Head coach John Harbaugh was pleased with the defense’s performance:
“I thought the defense played well as a whole,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “We did a good job against the run. They did a nice job on their quick game, and they have really talented receivers. [Blaine] Gabbert gets the ball out really quick, and I thought our corners covered pretty well.”
The Ravens still need to select a backup running back. Undrafted rookie Bobby Rainey stepped it up with three receptions and a 48-yard touchdown and one punt return. He will likely move ahead of Damien Berry and Anthony Allen in the competition.
They also need to decide on a starting kicker. Rookie Justin Tucker shined with two field goals from 33 and 53-yards. He also had five touchbacks and one special teams tackle. Veteran kicker Billy Cundiff did not see any playing time.
I was very pleased with the Ravens performance in this game. It was fun to watch the no-huddle offense march down the field by their fearless leader Flacco! I think he will be even more explosive when his favorite target, tight end Dennis Pitta returns for the first regular season game.