The Ravens just completed a hard fought win over the Carolina Panthers. There were many things that went right for the Ravens in this game, and many that went wrong as well. Lets dive right in.
First the running backs. Wow, the Ravens sure have a good group. Between Kenneth Dixon, Terrance West, and Buck Allen, the running backs all were very solid. Allen was probably the least impressive of the bunch. Allen was swallowed up behind the line more than any of the other backs. However, he made up for it with a fantastic screen turned 19 yard touchdown. Dixon broke off one 20 yard run, and was found at other points breaking tackles, consistently getting 4-6 yards. With 44 yards on nine carries, Dixon led the team in rushing yards. However, West was the most impressive. Terrance West has generated buzz as pushing for the top spot, and he showed why. Like Dixon he was consistently getting solid gains every touch. He showed that he can be shifty and quick despite his past scouting reports as a power back. His speed especially showed on his second touchdown, where he run to the left, stopped, then cut right and dashed for the corner. It looked like he would be caught, but he was able to get around and into the end zone. West also showed speed when returning a kick off, and Kenneth Dixon did the same. Justin Forsett did not play.
The secondary was good, but had its bad moments. In the Panthers final drive of the first half, Kyle Arrington was burned multiple times, and he also had his ankles broken attempting to make a tackle. The secondary also had a few chances to make defections, but were unable to do so, allowing passes to get through to receivers.
The pass rush was very good. Highlighted by Willie Henry, Matt Judon and Chris Carter, the Ravens were able to get to the Panthers’ quarterbacks. Little known linebacker Chris Carter had multiple plays where he blew pas his blocker. On that same last Panthers possession of the first half, Carter was able to get extremely close to sacking the quarterback, and the second time, forced a horrible throw that was almost picked off by Arthur Brown. Carter was able to get the sack that he deserved in the second half. Willie Henry was constantly in the backfield making stops behind the line on running backs as well as getting to the quarterback. In the second half, Henry was able to force Panthers quarterback Joe Webb out of bounds inside of the ten yard line. The Ravens were able to keep Carolina out of the end zone on that drive. Matt Judon, similarly to Henry, was able to stop backs in the backfield, and get to the quarterback. Judon was also able to go out in the open field and chase down ball carries to make the tackle. He led the team with seven tackles. The pass rushing was highlighted by Za’Darius Smith stripping Derek Anderson, a fumble which Carl Davis was able to recover.
Darren Waller and Jeremy Butler highlighted the passing game. Waller had one mistake where he tipped a pass that was intercepted and returned about 70 yards the other way. Despite that, Waller was targeted throughout the game. Waller led the team with 48 yards on five catches. Jeremy Butler also recorded five catches, but only 36 yards. Butler and Waller were often relied on on third down, and often, they came through. The highlight in the passing game was Nick Boyle’s 29 yard reception which included a hurdle over a Panther defender.
The quarterback play was also stellar. Ryan Mallett went 11/15 for 91 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. That amounted to a 82.9 QBR. Josh Johnson was equally good, going 8/11 for 83 yards with no touchdowns and no picks, and a 94.1 QBR. Joe Flacco did not play.
Turnovers were a problem for the Ravens. Mallett through a pick, and the team had two fumbles. Kaelin Clay, who is fighting for a roster spot, dropped punt and the Panthers recovered. His drop later in the game sure didn't help.
Kamalei Correa didn't help himself in the push for the ILB spot. Correa did not record a tackle in the game, while Zachary Orr recorded four and Albert McClellan had one.
Patrick Onwuasor impressed with solid coverage, and four tackles of his own.
Matt Elam looked pretty good, but Terrance Brooks looked better. Brooks had four tackles and a pass breakup. He also laid out the lumber a few times. Matt Elam stepped up at the end of the game, preventing the Panthers from scoring on fourth and goal. Elam hit his man as the ball came, forcing an in-completion.
Tavon Young looked good both in coverage and in special teams. Young was used on both offensive and defensive special teams. However, Young left the field with an injury in the second half.
Overall, this was a good win for the Ravens, but there is clearly some things to work on. The Ravens did not handle the end of the game well, going three and out inside of their own 10. The Ravens survived as the Panthers muffed the punt. The turnovers were also not very good. But that’s why it's the preseason, and the Ravens have a good foundation to build off of.