Looking at the score, you would think that the Baltimore Ravens had another terrible showing. Well they did, kind of.
The final score was 31-13, in favor of the Washington Redskins, but this game should be broken down into two phases. The Ravens first-team played well in the quarter and half they played. Once the backups took over, things got ugly.
Things got started off early for the Ravens as Steve Smith Sr. took the fourth play of the game 64 yards for a touchdown. He caught the ball with space, made a defender miss and took it to the house for the score. Anyone thinking that age was going to slow him down found out that he still has plenty left in the tank.
The defense did their part as well as Terrell Suggs made a terrific play on the Redskins opening drive. He read a screen play and picked off a Kirk Cousins pass at the line of scrimmage. Justin Tucker would hit a 31-yard field goal on the ensuing drive, giving Baltimore an early 10-0 lead.
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It was likely a short night for Smith as he was ejected late in the first quarter. Smith was involved in an altercation on the field with 1:23 remaining in the first quarter and was disqualified. Smith was looking out for teammate Kamar Aiken, who was slammed head first to the ground by linebacker Keenan Robinson. As the two teams were being separated, John Harbaugh got into a shouting match with Redskins coach Jay Gruden along the sidelines following the melee.
The Ravens would 10-0 after the first quarter, and added a 48-yard field goal to start the second. That was it for the Ravens in terms of points. Flacco and company did effectively move the ball on one more series, but Tucker missed a field goal wide left.
The starting defense did allow a touchdown, but the play easily could have been intercepted as well. Cousins threw a pass into an area with two receivers and defenders. The ball would end up being tipped in the air into the waiting of hands of Jamison Crowder who took it in for a 22-yard touchdown.
That is when the second string came in and things really came apart.
Matt Schaub continued to struggle when entering the game, throwing a horrific interception, looking scared in the pocket and fumbling a football that was fortunately recovered by the Ravens. Here is a stat to show you how bad it was for Schaub: He was on the field for four drives for a total of 12 yards. If I was a free agent quarterback, I would have my phone nearby.
The Redskins would take a 21-13 lead early in the third quarter following Schaub’s interception. The Ravens offense could not muster anything else whether it was Schaub or Bryn Renner under center. Rookie Tray Walker was picked on throughout the night. The staggering number of penalties continued. There was very little to be happy about, and just when something looked to be going good, there was another bad break.
Asa Jackson took a kickoff 103 yards before being tackled just two yards short of a touchdown with less than a minute remaining in the first half. The Ravens would go for it on fourth down, but Buck Allen would fumble the ball into the end zone, resulting in no points for the Ravens.
Jackson looked to have a firm hold on the return job until he muffed a punt in the fourth quarter. He failed to call for a fair catch and was absolutely drilled by a Redskins defender. The Redskins would kick a field goal a few plays later to take the 31-13 lead.
Will Harbaugh be satisfied with how tonight turned out? Depends which unit you are asking about. The starters look ready to start the regular season. The backups have been a major disappointment this preseason. It might be time to question whether the depth that everyone raved about is actually there.
The Ravens have just a few days to make some difficult roster decisions. Teams must their roster to 75 players by 4 p.m. on Sept. 1, and their 53-man roster set by Sept. 5. The guys who survive the first round of cuts figure to get a lot of playing time in the Ravens final preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons.
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