Baltimore Ravens Offense Impressive, Defense Not So Much vs. Saints


27. 15. Final. 30. 26

If you forgot how much fun the National Football League can be, hope you watched the Baltimore Ravens first preseason game in its entirety. While you might not have known every name on the field throughout the game, it was a thrilling game to watch.

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The Ravens won the game on a one-yard touchdown run by reserve quarterback Bryn Renner with two seconds remaining to make the comeback after Baltimore blew a 17-0 early in the second quarter. A pass interference play gave the Ravens the ball from the 1-yard-line with 19 seconds to go and Renner rolled out to his right, taking it in for the score to get the win. It was an impressive drive by the youngsters to win first preseason game.

The play of the game goes to rookie tight end Maxx Williams. On a fourth-and-20 play that seemed destined to end the game for the Ravens, Williams caught a short pass, steamrolled a defender, leaped another and made his way for a first down on a 22-yard reception. Williams was limping after the play, but should be alright. He did drop what should have been a touchdown earlier in the game, but it’s for plays like that why the Ravens moved up a few picks to grab the former Minnesota tight end.

The game looked like a blowout in the opening half of football as the Ravens scored more points (17) than the Saints had yards (11) with 12:42 remaining in the first half. But the Saints came back strong and that was without the services of Drew Brees who was held out of the game.

The Ravens opening drive is everything you want in a preseason opener. Actually, it is exactly what you want in every game on the first possession as the offense was basically flawless in the opening drive. All three running backs saw time on the opening possession, but it was Lorenzo Taliaferro who shined. The second-year back had six carries for 19 yards and a reception for nine yards on the opening drive, capping it off with a one-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-goal play.

Taliaferro looked lean and quick as he carried the load for the Ravens. More importantly, he was able to bring in his one look out of the backfield, while rookie Buck Allen failed to make a catch because he wasn’t looking back at the quarterback. Those are the kinds of mistakes that give Taliaferro the upper hand at this point.

Michael Campanaro is an intriguing option if he can stay healthy and he showed it last night. He was able to free himself wide open on a crossing route, fought off a defender and took it in for a 45-yard score. He has a legitimate chance to make the team as the team’s kick returner, especially after Asa Jackson left the game early with an injury, and he also brings something different in terms of a receiver. Again, health is the key.

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  • While there are some bright spots on offense, the defense was suspect at times last night. Brandin Cooks scored on a 28-yard screen play on a perfectly executed screen pass, but there was seemingly no Ravens defender in sight.

    Ryan Griffin led the Saints on a six-play, 90-yard drive ending with a Khiry Robinson 21-yard touchdown reception with 49 seconds remaining that left John Harbaugh furious. He told Ravens reporter Brent Harris that “I’d like to see a two-minute stop for the first time in about eight years.” Whether it is preseason or not, he is fired up.

    New Orleans took a late 27-23 lead over the Ravens following a Renner interception with 3:20 remaining in the fourth quarter. Marcus Murphy scored four plays later on a three-yard touchdown that was entirely too easy as no one was on the right side of the Ravens defense.

    Renner did a phenomenal job of leading the Ravens offense on the 14-play, 80-yard drive to get the Ravens the win after nearly costing his team the game.

    Next up for the Ravens is the joint practice with the Philadelphia Eagles before their preseason matchup next Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field. The Ravens starters were impressive in their first action, and will hope to keep that momentum going in extended action next week.

    The Ravens preseason opener could not have gone any better as everything went according to plan. The starters played well. The rookies look good. They won the game and did so with little injury. Harbaugh can walk away a very happy man after the first game of football.

    It was a terrific start to what many hope is a run to Super Bowl 50. The defense stuffed the run well and the offense was extremely effective. There is a lot to be excited about, but let’s wait until after next week’s game against the Eagles to really get a feel of this team.

    It may have been just a handful of snaps, but the Ravens starters manhandled a pretty good team. That’s how you start the journey to winning another championship.

    Next: Saints vs. Ravens Preview and Prediction

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