In the first game of the preseason against the San Francisco 49ers, fans got excited solely upon the first drive that the Baltimore Ravens first team displayed offensively. In week two against the Dallas Cowboys, it was the first team offense, defense, and special teams that got the fans ecstatic.
After the first team defense posted a sub-par performance in week one, they struck right off the bat in this game. On the fifth play of the first drive of the game, the Cowboys were at their own 30 yard line before outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw forced a sack-fumble on quarterback Tony Romo and returned it 26 yards to give the Ravens a 7-0 lead.
After Tony Romo connected with Dez Bryant on a 31-yard touchdown on the following drive, the Cowboys kicked off to speedy wide receiver Deonte Thompson. Thompson, who is vying for a roster spot, returned the kick 108 yards to the house, as the Ravens regain the lead.
In the second quarter, the Baltimore Ravens outscored the Cowboys 13-0 thanks to 38 and 40-yard field goals from Justin Tucker and a beautiful 19-yard pass from Joe Flacco to Torrey Smith. Ravens DB Brynden Trawick also forced the second turnover of the game for the Ravens, intercepting backup quarterback Brandon Weeden at the 6:28 mark of the second quarter. The Ravens led 27-10 at the half.
Tyrod Taylor orchestrated a 10-play 77-yard drive to start off the second quarter that was capped off by a Lorenzo Taliaferro 3-yard score to give the Ravens a 34-10 lead. The rookie rushed for 21 yards on the drive and was very impressive throughout this game as he was in week one.
With 2:18 to go in the third quarter something unthinkable occurred. The Ravens were at the Cowboys 43-yard line and elected to send pro bowl kicker Justin Tucker out there to kick a 62-yard field goal. Guess what, he missed it (gasp). That’s right, Justin Tucker missed a field goal!
Anyway, the Cowboys would strike again to end the third quarter. The drive started in Ravens territory and it was capped off by a 24-yard touchdown pass from third-string quarterback Caleb Hanie.
With under 11 minutes to go in the game, Keith Wenning dropped back for his first career passing attempt, but he got sacked on 3rd and 10 and fumbled the ball as Cowboys defensive tackle Dartwan Bush recovers the ball inside the Ravens 40-yard-line. Not a good first impression for the rookie who is on the bubble for missing the roster.
The Cowboys would slowly crawl their way back into this game. Following a 3-yard touchdown by former Arizona Cardinal Ryan Williams, Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey‘s extra point hits off the cross-bar and sneaks into the uprights to cut the Ravens lead to 10.
After getting sacked once again on his second career drop-back, Wenning finally got the ball out of his hands for the first time in his career. However, all that occurred was an incompletion on 3rd-and-10 intended for receiver James Davis.
On the very next drive, the Cowboys cut the lead to four thanks to a five-play 46-yard drive. The Cowboys would fail on the two-point attempt.
In the next drive, Keth Wenning made a couple of plays that were vital to this game. On 3rd-and-7 he completed a ten-yard pass to undrafted rookie Jeremy Butler for his first career completion. Two plays later, he completed his second pass — a 13-yard screen pass to backup fullback Shaun Chapas. Talleaferro helped waste some valuable time off the clock at the end of the game and Justin Tucker hit a 49-yard field goal with 21 seconds to go, capping off a Ravens 37-30 preseason victory.
Joe Flacco ended the day completing 9-of-17 passes with 113 yards and one touchdown, and Tyrod Taylor totaled 59 yards on 6-of-8 completed passes. The top receiver for the Ravens on the day was Jacoby Jones who caught three passes for 49 yards. Lorenzo Taliaferro rushed 14 times for 55 yards, Bernard Pierce rushed seven times for 55 yards and Ray Rice rushed twice for 21 yards.
After recording five tackles last week, rookie linebacker C.J. Mosley recorded four this week. That ought to get Ravens fans excited.
Just a couple of injury notes from this game: Starting running back Ray Rice left this game in the first half with a shoulder problem but he talked with Ravens sideline reporter Brent Harris after the game and said “Don’t be nervous. I’m fine”. Ravens starting cornerback Jimmy Smith left this game in the first quarter with a bruised chest. Although starting cornerback Lardarius Webb is expected to return next week, this is a situation that should be monitored. Both Rice and Smith’s X-rays came back negative.