The game was only a preseason one and it was the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it is still hard to not get excited at the efficiency and dominating performance by the Baltimore Ravens from virtually all phases of the game in complete 48-17 victory. The only concern that could come out of the game was the continuing inability of the Ravens to cover kickoffs.
The offense seemed to be as focused as ever, driving down field each time they touched the ball. It was only a few missed third down conversions that prevented the final score from being even worse for the Jags. QB Joe Flacco continued his torrid performance in the first half to finish the game 27 of 36 for 266 yards in just under three quarters of play before giving way to Tyrod Taylor. He added two TD passes with one meaningless interception at the end of the first half on a Hail Mary attempt.
Ray Rice broke off a 28-yard run early in the game then gave way to Bobby Rainey and Bernard Pierce, who split more of the other reps. Torrey Smith has been solid, his obvious speed making it a nightmare for defensive backs to cover him. Boldin remains efficient as ever and tight end Billy Bajema serviceable in the absence of starters Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta
Defensively, the pass rush may still need work, but it didn't seem to stop the defense from continue to throttle the Jaguars and QB Blaine Gabbert, who seemed gun-shy and threw off his back foot all too often. The secondary tackled well and prevented the big play that haunted them earlier this preseason. OLB Paul Kruger needs to seal the edge better but he will continue to learn and grow as he gets more experience being a three-down player.
Other OLB Albert McClellan might be ahead of rookie Courtney Upshaw, as he played well and obviously is more comfortable in the defensive schemes due to his experience over the rookie. Haloti Ngata made a huge sack, Ray Lewis another stop in the backfield and Bernard Pollard is such a hard hitter and worthy of All-Pro consideration instead of being in the shadow of fellow safety Ed Reed.
Rookie placekicker Justin Tucker did everything if not more than was asked of him, and now appears to be leading veteran Billy Cundiff in the competition to be the team's kicker when rosters are finally decided.
More to follow on a very satisfying Ravens victory over the next few days.