The starting offense didn’t look particularly great against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, and they looked even worse against the Falcons. Besides an excellent slant pass that Torrey Smith took 77 yards for a touchdown, there wasn’t much to be happy about for the offense. The receivers were bad, the offensive line was worse and there were too many penalties.
Some silver linings as far as the offense go is they were without Pro Bowl guard Marshall Yanda, newly-acquired tight end Dallas Clark and the fact that Brandon Stokley barely played.
The starting defense didn’t fare much better. The new and improved run defense that I’ve been raving about looked more like last year’s group as Steven Jackson tore them up. Third-year corner Jimmy Smith had a rough go at it too as Julio Jones had his way with him.
There were a few bright spots for the defense, though. Daryl Smith, Elvis Dumervil and Matt Elam all looked like they were in regular season form. Chris Canty continues to get pressure inside, and Corey Graham had a better game then he had last week.
The Ravens wound up winning the game thanks to the back ups. Tyrod Taylor once again looked pretty sharp and I continue to gain trust in him. My boy Matt Furstenburg had some big catches across the middle; I’d say he’s looks better than Visanthe Schiancoe at the moment. Asa Jackson continues to impress as he scored the game winning touchdown on a nice punt return.
The Ravens starters on offense and defense clearly have some work to do for next week. A dominant win at home against the Carolina Panthers would be crucial for the team’s momentum heading into the season opener only weeks later at the Denver Broncos.
It was a bad game, but there’s no reason to go crazy about it — this is what the preseason is for. The Ravens had a few bad performances last year and only went 2-2 in the 2012 preseason games, but we all know what the final results of the real season were. Still, I expect a much better performance next week.