BALTIMORE,Md.--While the Baltimore Ravens remain unbeaten in the preseason, last nights game left more concerns than smiles in the Ravens 23-27 victory on Thursday night.The Ravens' reserves did manage to find rhythm to come back and score 20 unanswered points in the final 15 minutes of the game.
The Falcons'offense were sharp, moving methodically against the Ravens in the first half. It was 23-7 before half time. Matt Ryan was looking in Mid season form as the Falcons scored the first points of the game with a 45-yard Matt Bryant field goal.
The Ravens answer back when Joe Flacco found Torrey Smith for a 77-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. Flacco would finish 7-of-9 for 118 yards with an interception. Ryan looked to be in midseason form as he had 97 yards with a touchdown pass to Julio Jones. Steven Jackson ran for 42 yards on eight carries after a limited performance in a 34-10 loss to Cincinnati.
The concern following Flacco's touchdown was the Ravens' starters inability to run on the Falcons' defensive front, Ray Rice was unable to run, finishing with just 10 yards on eight carries.The Ravens first squad looked flat as they could only manage 7 points. Brandon Stokley did make a cameo in the first squad while Dallas Clark warmed up, but did not participate.
"That's about as bad as we can play," Harbaugh said as he headed for the tunnel." That's the worst half of football, I don't think I can say ever but I can't think of one."
The surge began when the second- and third-teamers outperformed the starters and managed to pull out a comeback after Atlanta dominated for much of the game, but everything changed in the final quarter. The second-string quaterback Tyrod Taylor was the catalyst as he threw for two touchdowns, including an impressive 40-yard score to Aaron Mellette.Corner back Asa Jackson capped off the comeback by returning a 78 yard punt for the game winning touchdown.
The Atlanta Falcons walk away from this game with the loss, but their first squad looked impressive, especially against the Ravens defense.With the win, the Ravens figured out what needs to be addressed and the biggest issue is communication. Interceptions and giving up touchdowns is a concern for this young Ravens squad.
The Ravens defensive and offensive coaching staff did manage to see which players have a place on the depth chart. Rookie Aaron Mellette is showing excellent promise in this preseason. Overall, this Ravens squad did look stale in the first half of the game, but the rookies and walk on players showed great potential.