There was very little to be thrilled about in the Baltimore Ravens second preseason game as the Philadelphia Eagles manhandled John Harbaugh’s team by the score of 40-17 last night at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Ravens starters finished the night down 17-0 and the reserves fared no better as Chip Kelly had the pedal to the metal throughout the one-sided affair. It was an evening full of penalties, miscues in all three phases of the game and injuries mounting up along the offensive line.
Joe Flacco played three series and was off all night, overthrowing receivers on multiple occasions and throwing two interceptions in the limited action. The first interception came on a deep pass into the end zone in which the Eagles secondary made a great play to tip the ball in the air for the turnover. The second turnover was inexcusable, simply putting the ball out of the reach of Marlon Brown – who is a pretty big target to miss – and right into the hands of a waiting defender. Flacco finished 3-for-7 for 23 yards.
The first-team defense looked nothing like the team that we saw in the Ravens win over the Saints last week. In their three series of work, they gave up two drives of over 14 plays and 75 yards and the Eagles were up 17-0 in a flash.
If that was not enough to make Harbaugh cringe, the special teams had an off-night too, giving up a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter that put Philadelphia up 24-0.
Because the play itself was not bad enough, the officials’ arms might be iced after all the yellow markers that were on the field. The Ravens were flagged 22 times against the Eagles, 17 of which were enforced for 139 yards.
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The most memorable penalty of the night was on a play in the backfield with Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford. The Eagles ran a read-option play with Bradford in the backfield and Suggs took the quarterback down as if he was a runner. The officials did not see it that way and threw the flag for a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty. Suggs and Harbaugh both were visibly upset on the sidelines about the call, and had a legitimate gripe about the call.
Add injury to the insult, as well. The Ravens were thin along the offensive line with Kelechi Osemele and Ricky Wagner out, and the offensive line depth was limited as James Hurst (head) and De’Ondre Wesley (leg) each left the game.
The good in this game? Justin Forsett ran well once again in the few opportunities he had. He took the first three snaps of the game for 23 yards and the Ravens offense looked to be in-sync like it was a week ago. Five plays later, Flacco threw the first interception of the night. Darren Waller continued a fine week of work by getting the Ravens opening score of the night on a 7-yard pass from Bryn Renner early in the fourth. Justin Tucker hit two extra points that were over 40 yards because of penalties. Maybe the most impressive stat of the night is that Matt Schaub actually did not turn the ball over. Other than that, there is little to be happy about.
The Ravens knew they had their work cut out for them against the Eagles, but few expected it to be such a one-sided game. Philadelphia has been very impressive in their first two preseason games, and no one is questioning Kelly’s offseason moves now. The Eagles will be a force in the NFC, and Baltimore has plenty of work to do in the upcoming days.
“I just told the team, we’ll learn from this. We have a lot to learn from, obviously,” Harbaugh said after the game.
Baltimore needs to get their act together with the regular season just three weeks away. Everyone knows that the Eagles present a problem for most teams, but the penalties are inexcusable and not what you expect from a Harbaugh-led team.
Next up for the Ravens is the Washington Redskins in what should be the final tuneup entering the 2015 season. The starters figure to play most of the contest next Saturday, and likely sit out the fourth preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons.
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