It was just a preseason game and the first stringers may not have played to the level most of us would have liked, but at the same time, there was just no way to deny that the Baltimore Ravens are a better team than the Washington Redskins, as the Ravens won the exhibition contest 23-3. One thing for sure is that the Ravens reserves are a lot, lot better than the Redskins, and other than an opening drive that ended in a field goal, Washington did not score another point the rest of the game.
Despite the concern that our defensive backs looked a bit lost out there and the gaps in coverage, especially over the middle to the tight end, the secondary came up big with interceptions to kill drives and enforced their "bend-but-don't-break" mentality from last season.
Noticeable on the broadcast was the obvious "homer" sentiment of the Redskins announcers, who constantly complained that the Ravens were holding and not getting called and at one point said that there wasn't a deeper group of safeties on any team in the NFL than the Washington Redskins. Laughable commentary, even with the understanding that the color guy was former Redskins great Joe Theisman.
While QB Joe Flacco did not overwhelm anyone with his performance, he was a respectable 9 of 16 for 72 yards and more importantly did not turn the ball over. Backup Marc Bulger was extremely efficient as I said in the 'Open Thread' comments, completing 13 of 16 for 130 yards and also no picks Interesting was that the combined 22 completions by both Flacco and Bulger went to 16 different receiver. However, four fumbles and losing two has to be improved upon, and the secondary, regardless of the winning effort still gave up over 400 yards of passing combined by Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman.
The defense, despite the number of passing yards given up, limited the Redskins to just of handful of yards on the ground and zero first down by the run. They had four sacks and put decent pressure on the opposing QB's, but still need more disruption to cover the limitations of the secondary.
It was also great to see safety Haruki Nakamura get into the action, not only on defense, where he had a handful of hits and tackles, but made a great move on a fake punt for a 51 yard gain to the one yard line on the Ravens first TD drive, although he will probably get a bunch of ribbing from his teammates for not getting into the end zone.
Almost as impressive as the victory itself should be the level of confidence in the reserves on the Baltimore Ravens, as they proved the depth, in the receiving game and defensive front seven, can offer so many different looks to this already solid defense. The kicking game did not open up any gaps between the two kickers in the competition, as both Shayne Graham and Billy Cundiff made their attempts and punter Sam Koch killed the ball, averaging over 45 yards a punt.
While this was just another preseason game, it's good to know the Ravens can still dominate a game and while the offense needs to click a bit more efficiently and the defensive secondary needs to protect the middle of the passing lanes, the Ravens did win the "Battle of the Beltway" tonight and own bragging rights for another year in this so-called regional rivalry.