It may be just the preseason. It may be too early to make judgments as a whole.
But the Ravens' offense on Thursday night looked rejuvenated in the team's 23-3 win over the 49ers in its preseason opener at M&T Bank Stadium. The running game clicked all night, with the first and second-team offensive lines paving the way for Baltimore's running backs.
As a team, the Ravens ran for 236 yards. Fourth-round draft pick Lorenzo Taliaferro led the way with 71 rushing yards on 13 carries.
As Kris Jones mentioned, the Ravens' first drive couldn't have been executed better. Quarterback Joe Flacco completed four of five passes for 52 yards, completing throws to Dennis Pitta, Jacoby Jones, Steve Smith and Kyle Juszczyk. Juszczyk appears to have an exciting role in Gary Kubiak's offense, as he caught three passes for 28 yards.
The defense is somewhat tough to assess compared to the offense for two reasons: 1) the offense was so bad a year ago that this kind of showing was 180 degrees from the group we last saw; 2) the 49ers pulled their starters on offense after the first series.
And on that first series, the Ravens did have trouble stopping the run, though San Francisco should be able to run over most teams with the offensive line it has. The Ravens had some trouble getting off blocks, which allowed Carlos Hyde to rumble for some decent gains.
After that, though, the Ravens had a solid showing with their backups on defense. Cornerbacks Asa Jackson and Dominique Franks both had interceptions and Tramain Jacobs had a nice pass deflection, running stride for stride in coverage with his man.
All in all, the Ravens should be happy with their first performance in the first preseason game. There's a lot to build off of, even if the game itself doesn't necessarily matter.