The good was the very first drive for the offense. A balanced attack and great protection from the line lead to a long touchdown drive. Brandon Stokley appeared the part of the clutch slot receiver that the Ravens need. Marlon Brown was the young unproven receiver that finally stepped up for the Ravens, as he had four catches for 59 yards, including an impressive touchdown reception. The defense was outstanding as they totally shut down the run and were able to get a lot of inside pressure on Cam Newton.
The bad was the offensive line after RG Marshall Yanda was taken out of the game. His replacement, Jah Reid, was terrible; but even worse was LG Kelechi Osemele, who had an uncharacteristically bad performance. Tandon Doss, who had hoped to be the #2 receiver this year, might have trouble even making the team at this point. Doss, once again, has not a factor in the passing game, and was at fault on a play that led to a Panthers pick six.
The ugly was the pick six I just mentioned, in addition to three other touchdowns scored by the Panthers’ defense and special teams. Giving up 28 points on turnovers and specials teams is unacceptable against any opponent, preseason or not. Much credit should be given to Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, who might be a legitimate contender for defensive player of the year.
To sum it all up, it was a weird game. The Ravens outplayed the Panthers, but turnovers were a killer. I’ve been saying that the Ravens defense will be superior to the offensive unit in 2013. Still, I have enough confidence that the offense could be competent enough to pick up the defense here and there. In my opinion, the Ravens will still make the playoffs.