The Baltimore Ravens suffered their first loss of the preseason Friday night to the Detroit Lions 27-12. They played in front of an announced crowd of 70,567 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
While the Ravens still have problem areas, they looked better than they did in last week’s preseason game against Atlanta.
Once again the Ravens implemented the no-huddle offense; it is a work in progress. Quarterback Joe Flacco played just over a quarter and went 7 of 12 for 79 yards. While he failed to convert in the end zone, he did not have any interceptions.
Flacco felt comfortable with the no-huddle offense:
“I definitely like it,” Flacco said about the no-huddle. “It’s an up-tempo offense and it definitely keeps the defense on their heels. I also think we’re good at it.”
The only bright spot about the team not scoring touchdowns is that both kickers, veteran Billy Cundiff and rookie Justin Tucker got equal shots to make field goals. Both kickers made two field goals.
The offensive line played in tact for the first time this preseason and they gave Flacco time to throw and spread the ball around.
Unfortunately the defense is feeling the effects of linebacker Terrell Suggs’ absence. They gave up 254 yards in the first half, 507 total yards.
Defensive coordinator, Dean Pees, believes the defense will improve:
“We have to complete plays, not just be in position to make them,” Pees said at halftime. “Communication still isn’t where we want it to be. We need to get better, and we will.”
The defense played well with the first team, but had issues when the starters, including Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, left the field.
The secondary continued to have issues stopping the passing attack. Lions’ wide receiver Calvin Johnson had five catches for 111 yards, the last one caught over cornerback Jimmie Smith in the end zone.
Despite their issues, star cornerback Lardarius Webb is standing by his claim that the Ravens have the best secondary in the NFL.
“I don’t think anything needs to change,” top cornerback Lardarius Webb said. “I just think guys need to keep on competing. I think we’re nice, man. We know how to fix it; we know how to get back right. We’re still here.”
Ravens top draft pick Courtney Upshaw made his debut in this game. He had been out with a shoulder injury. He got knocked down by the Lions offensive line. He didn’t pressure the quarterback and had no tackles.
While there weren’t any major injuries, the injury bug was back:
- Linebacker Sergio Kindle: shoulder stinger
- Wide receiver LaQuan Williams: ankle sprain
- Fullback Vonta Leach: ankle sprain
- Linebacker Ricky Williams: hip contusion
The injuries aren’t expected to be long-term, but Harbaugh will update their status on Sunday.
I was pleased to see some improvements this week, but like I keep saying, it is preseason and I have faith that the coaches and players will work out the kinks and improve their game by the first regular season game on September 10.
I like the look of the no-huddle offense, but it is a work in progress; something they need to get used to. Even when you take off the training wheels, it takes some time to get used to riding without them, I feel the same about Flacco and the no-huddle offense.