The Baltimore Ravens faced the New Orleans Saints Thursday night in week four of the preseason, also known as “the bubble game” – where the players on “the bubble” get their chance at making the final 53-man roster.
Week four of the preseason is the most irrelevant game to us fans, but to the players trying to make the team, it’s equivalent to the Super Bowl.
A lot of the Ravens’ young players looked determined to make the cut in this game.
After a ten-play scoring drive led by backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor in which Kamar Aiken caught two passes to give the Ravens a 3-0 lead, Luke McCown and the Saints offense responded with a scoring drive of their own. A 40-yard return from the Saints return game set up a short field for the offense, which led to a seven-play, 45-yard drive capped off by a three-yard touchdown pass by McCown.
Tyrod Taylor would then throw an interception to Saints DB Patrick Warren on the next drive, but the Saints would get forced to a three-and-out.
On the next Ravens drive, the offense put together a collective effort in a 14-yard drive that resulted in an eight-yard touchdown reception by Deonte Thompson. That was Thompson’s third touchdown of the preseason. No other Raven has more than one, so he is making a good case for the final 53-man roster.
The Ravens and Saints would exchange field goals two more times before the half, as the Ravens brought a 16-13 lead into halftime.
Rookie quarterback Keith Wenning got his chance to play the entire second half, as he came in on the first drive for the Ravens offensively. Slowly but surely, the Ravens found their way down the field.
After nearly throwing an interception on his first passing attempt, Wenning completed four of his next five passes to get inside the red zone. Rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro would then grind out two nice runs to set up a 32-yard field goal by Justin Tucker.
After the Ravens defense forced a punt, two rookies made a big play. Rookie quarterback Keith Wenning sent a pass down the field to rookie wide receiver Michael Campanaro for a 39-yard gain, capping off a very nice third quarter for Wenning in which he completed 5-of-8 passes for 76 yards.
The Ravens third team defense looked really good in the second half. On the Saints first drive of the fourth quarter, the defense forced them to go three and out.
After a couple of impressive runs by running back Fitzgerald Toussaint on the next drive, Wenning hooked up with rookie tight end Crockett Gilmore for a 23-yard gain. After a 13-play drive, Justin Tucker would tack on his fifth field goal of the night and seal a 22-13 Ravens victory.
The four receivers fighting for roster spots did not make the Ravens’ decision any easier as to who to keep. Michael Companaro, Deonte Thompson, and Jeremy Butler each caught three passes. Third-year receiver Kamar Aiken stood out, catching four passes for 57 yards.
Running backs Fitzgerald Toussiant (103 yards) and Lorenzo Talliaferro (88 yards) both looked good, but the MVP of this game was linebacker John Simon. The second year linebacker ended the night recording three tackles, four quarterback hits and one sack.
I just have one question for you guys: Who’s ready for some football?