Joe Flacco hasn't missed a game in five NFL seasons.
Flacco has proven to be one of the most durable quarterbacks in the league, taking hit after hit before moving on to the next play.
The Ravens have been fortunate in this regard, because backup quarterbacks, much like upper echelon quarterbacks, are at a premium. Not many teams can claim confidence in a backup if their starter goes down.
It was only one game, and perhaps this is a little too reactionary, but Tyrod Taylor looked like a more-than-capable backup Thursday night. He made plenty of tough throws, read the defense well, scrambled to extend plays and helped his team run away with a 44-16 win over the Buccaneers in the first preseason game of the season.
Taylor finished the game throwing 13-23 for 154 yards and two touchdowns. He added 27 rushing yards on five carries.
Taylor was poised in the pocket when protection allowed it. When plays broke down, he scrambled out to either run or buy time to throw it downfield.
A perfect example came late in the second quarter. Tampa Bay rushed Taylor, forcing him to scramble left. Taylor noticed tight end Visanthe Shiancoe open but needed the veteran tight end to get a few yards closer to the sideline. Once he did, Taylor tossed the ball to Shiancoe, who rose up to get it before falling out of bounds, for a 13-yard gain.
Taylor's two touchdowns to Williams and Mellette were perfectly placed passes as well. The first to Williams was thrown high and in the back of the end zone, only where his receiver could go up and get it. The throw to Mellette was a well-thrown fade, which the rookie made a great play on.
For the most part, Taylor went against a second-team defense during his time in the game. Even so, the third-year quarterback out of Virginia Tech was impressive, showcasing a lot of growth during his time in Baltimore.
Player of the game
And to think, as well as Taylor fared, he's not receiving player of the game honors. That would belong to Williams, who finished with two catches for 32 yards and a touchdown. He also recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown and recovered a muffed punt that set up a 20-yard touchdown run from Bernard Pierce.
Williams entered Thursday's game somewhere between fifth and seventh in the receiving seventh pecking order. With Jacoby Jones, Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson combining for one reception for five yards, it might be time to get Williams some first-team reps in practice this weekend.
Other key contributors
Pierce's 20-yard touchdown run showed the explosion coach John Harbaugh raved about early in training camp.
Rookie tight end Matt Furstenburg caught a 24-yard pass down the seam from Taylor early in the third quarter. Furstenburg's had success in the seam in training camp and that carried over into Thursday night's game.
Receiver Marlon Brown finished with two catches for 31 yards. But what stood out was his ability after the catch. Brown bounced off defenders on both of his catches, showing no ill effects of the ACL he tore last November in college.
Mellette's touchdown was textbook for all young receivers to follow. In tight man coverage, Mellette tracked the ball perfectly through the air. He rose up to grab the ball before the defender had a chance to make a play on it, before taking a step into the end zone. He'll be a tough receiver to cut when Baltimore is forced to trim its roster to 53.
Daryl Smith all but cemented himself as the starting Mike linebacker. He was a force early, applying pressure on blitzes, sniffing out screens and tallying five tackles (one for loss).
Asa Jackson, Moe Lee and Brandon Copeland all picked off passes Thursday night. Lee's was the most entertaining as he channeled his inner Ed Reed with a forced lateral as he was being tackled on the return.
Those that disappointed
As mentioned, receivers Jones, Doss and Thompson didn't seem to show up Thursday night. It's possible the downpour affected them as it rained the heaviest when they were in the game. Thompson dropped a pass on an open slant pattern that hit the numbers on his jersey. Jones and Doss combined for three targets with no catches.
Chykie Brown has had an impressive training camp thus far. He had a night to forget Thursday. Flagged for two pass interference penalties, Brown was a little too aggressive trying to jump plays instead of sticking with his assignments.
You know you're green when Mike Glennon is picking on you in his first NFL action. That was the case for Ravens rookie cornerback Marc Anthony. In the third quarter, Glennon tested Anthony, completing three passes for 34 yards against him in the third quarter.
The Ravens sustained two injuries of note: Pierce injured his knee on his touchdown run and Thompson limped off the field due to an ankle injury.
After the game, coach John Harbaugh told reporters that the injury situation didn't seem serious.
Head Coach John Harbaugh said "we're looking pretty good right now" when asked about tonight's injuries.— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 9, 2013
However, according to the Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec, Harbaugh also said that some players would need to undergo some tests.
John Harbaugh said few players will get MRIs and x-rays but he wasn't specific.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) August 9, 2013
Zrebiec then saw Pierce and Thompson in the locker room.
Bernard Pierce had his knee wrapped and Deonte Thompson had a soft boot on as they left stadium.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) August 9, 2013
The Ravens will resume practice Saturday at their training facility in Owings MIlls, Md. On Sunday, the team will hold an open practice at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
The next preseason game is at home and against the Atlanta Falcons on Aug. 15.
Follow me on twitter: @JasonHButt