Week three of the preseason is in the books.. Both Joe Flacco and Terrell Suggs made their return to the field tonight. With roster cuts coming this week, the backup needed to play well in their opportunities to avoid the cut, and for some, help in the competition for starting jobs.
Interestingly enough, Mike Wallace started as the kick returner for the Ravens. The kick soared out the back of the end zone, and Joe Flacco ran on to the field for the first time in 2016. Flacco immediately aired it out, overthrowing Wallace.
Tight end Ben Watson went down after the play, and needed help to get off the field. It looked as if he tripped on his own feet. As he came off the field, it looked as if it was an ankle injury. The Ravens then reported Benjamin Watson suffered a torn achilles. Watson will miss the remainder of the season. This changes the tight end and overall roster spot competition dramatically.
Flacco had ample opportunities to throw in his first chance, going four for six on the first possession. He even got a chance to scramble out of the pocket. The Ravens drove down to the Lions 22 before stalling. Justin Tucker nailed a 40 yard field goal.
In the defense’s first chance to face the Matthew Stafford and the Lions, they were able to get the job done. A pass interference penalty on Jimmy Smith extended the drive. The Ravens were able to get the Lions off the field quickly afterward. Terrance Brooks dropped an INT on second down.
Once the Ravens received the ball back, Flacco was pushed out of the pocket and took his first hit. He got up easily, and looked just like the normal Joe Flacco.
The Ravens would punt the ball back to the Lions, who went on a long march down the field. Shareece Wright got burned early in the drive on third down, and that set the tone for the possession. Following a theme of the preseason, the Lions drove into the red zone before the defense pulled it together and held the Lions to a Matt Prater field goal.
At this point Ryan Mallett took over for Flacco. A 28 yard reception by Darren Waller moved the ball into the Ravens red zone, where the drive ultimately stalled. Tucker nails another field goal, and the Ravens took the lead.
The Lions missed a long field goal after gaining a few yards on third-and-32. The Ravens got the ball back, and quickly put the ball in the end zone. A Kenneth Dixon run 17 yard run, with a 15 yard penalty added on to it. Two plays later, Ryan Mallett lobbed a pass to Jeremy Butler who made a spectacular diving catch in the end zone for the score. Tucker drilled the extra point.
An Anthony Levine Sr. interception with a 22 yard return, got the Ravens the ball back with 1:45 remaining in the half. He was playing linebacker on this play. Chris Matthews got the Ravens close to goal line. On the following play, Kenneth Dixon was hit hard by Haloti Ngata and Ezekiel Ansah. Dixon was shaken up on the play, his left knee was bent at a very awkward ankle. He was helped off the field, not putting any pressure on his leg. Not good, not good at all. It was reported later that Dixon just had a knee sprain. The Ravens may have dodged a bullet. The Ravens scored on the next play on a Ryan Mallett QB sneak. A Tucker extra point made it....
The Lions got the ball back with a little more than a minute. The defense allowed the Lions to get to around midfield. A late hit by Timmy Jernigan on a Stafford scramble gave the Lions the extra yards they needed to kick a field goal. Matt Prater drained a 60 yarder.
End of First Half
First Half Notes:
- The defensive front looks stout. Terrell Suggs has been setting a great edge, and has been in the backfield throughout the first half. The defensive front has a whole has done a much better job stopping the run, and putting pressure on the quarterback.
- The secondary has played particularly well. They have given up a few big chunks, and allowed the Lions to convert multiple times on third down.
- Missed tackles are killing the defense The Lions have gotten extra yards on both special teams and offensive plays on missed tackles. There have also been way too many penalties in the first half.
- The first team offense looks ready to go. Joe Flacco was fantastic, and his rapport with receivers was already present. The run game has also been great.
First Half winners
- Joe Flacco- Looked great in his return. He checked off getting hit, holding onto the ball, and getting up from it. He also was a very efficient 11/16 for 94 yards.
- Mike Wallace- He showed a great rapport with Joe Flacco. Three receptions for 37 yards in a short time on the field.
- Ronnie Stanley- He has been shut down Ezekiel Ansah in his match-ups with him. Per usual, he has shined at protecting the quarterback, as well as opening up holes for running backs
- Terrell Suggs- Looked good in return. Set the edge consistently, and was in the backfield a lot.
- Kenneth Dixon- Despite how amazing Dixon he played, he is a winner as his injury is minor. A knee sprain should hopefully keep him in line for Week 1. He was absolutely explosive in the first half. Very, very impressive so far. One of the most impressive was a run at the end of the first half where he carried the pile for a few extra yards. Six rushes for 41 yards at halftime.
First Half losers
- Shareece Wright- Was burned a few times, notably on a third down in the first quarter. Also missed multiple tackles. He did make a touchdown saving tackle in the second quarter, because there was a missed tackle that allowed a Lion to break loose.
- Matt Judon- Has not taken advantage of his oppurtunity as a starter. He was exposed in the flat trying to cover a tight end. He also has been pushed around by offensive lineman a few times. Looked tired at times.
- Jimmy Smith- Like Wright, he was burned a few times, and a key PI was called on him on a third down. Third down mistakes are going to get penalized big time in this post.
- Terrance West- Dixon totally outplayed him. He only had two carries in the first half. Dixon’s injury, depending on how serious, could boost his snaps, but the Ravens showed that the prefer Dixon.
- Ben Watson- Torn achilles on the first play. He’s out for the year.
Start of Second Half
Neither team could get much going with the starters out of the game. Matt Judon quickly made his presence felt in the second half with a strips-sack of Dan Orlovsky. Judon is clearly good enough to play against second string offensive lines but he isn’t ready for first stringers yet.
About mid-way through the third quarter the Ravens offense finally broke through. Jeremy Butler got into the end zone for the second time tonight, but a De’Ondre Wesley penalty brought it back. Chris Matthews dropped a well thrown pass on the net play and the drive stalled. Will Lutz did knock in a 39 yard field goal, and the Ravens extended their lead.
Despite Brent Urban, Patrick Onwuasor, and Willie Henry finding themselves in the backfield multiple times, the Lions drove 46 yards down the field before stalling. The Lions were able to convert on third down twice, not good defense, not good at all. The Lions would go onto miss a 47 yard field goal, and the ball returned to the Ravens.
Leaning heavily on the run, the Ravens methodically moved the ball chunk by chunk down the field. Running almost six minutes off the clock, the Ravens punched the ball into the end zone on a Josh Johnson run. Lutz nailed the extra point.
The two teams traded punts for the majority of the remaining fourth quarter. Keenan Reynolds finally had a noteworthy punt return in the midst of the punting spree. A Stephen Houston fumble broke the pattern of punting. Houston may have ended any shot he had at making the team with that miscue. The Lions would kick a field goal.
The two teams finished off the game by running the ball, and running off the clock. The Ravens capped off an impressive 30-9 win, and moved to 3-0.
End of Game
Second Half Notes
- The defense was much better in the second half on third downs. They did give up a few big chunks, but on early downs. Overall, the second string guys as a whole impressed, keeping the Lions off the board, and rarely letting them get close enough to score. The missed tackes declined
- Quarterback play remained efficient. Ryan Mallett went 10/15 for 112 yards and a TD, and Josh Johnson went a perfect 4/4 for 29 yards. Like the defense, the backups on offense impressed in the second half. Jeremy Butler led the receiving game with another stellar showing. He put up 43 yards and a touchdown on four catches. The running backs didn’t miss a beat without Dixon in the second half. Terrance West finished with seven rushes for 43 yards.
Second Half Winners
- Matt Judon- I had him as a loser in the first half, but he was a big winner in the second half. He had trouble against the first string guys, but dominated the second string. He finished with five total tackles, a sack, and a blocked pass. He consistently beat his blocker.
- Jeremy Buter- With the Ben Watson injury, Butler may have earned himself a spot. Throughout the preseason he has been heavily used and has done well with his opportunities.
- Chris Moore- Moore only had 2 catches for 26 yards, but one was a fantastic diving catch. He also was targeted more than twice, the throws were not always on target, but that the Ravens continued to give Moore a large role makes him a winner.
- Terrance West and Javorious Allen- Both got more opportunities in the second half, and both took advantage. West’s stats are mentioned above. Allen had 8 carries for only 15 yards, but added 4 catches for 17 more. The Ravens clearly like Allen’s versatility.
- Anthony Levine Sr.- A winner for the second straight week. Yet again, he did a solid job playing both linebacker and safety. He led the team with 4 solo tackles. Levine added an interception in the first half.
- Victor Ochi- He finally did something! The hyped undrafted rookie has been a non-factor this preseason. However, tonight he had a tackle and a sack. He significantly helped his chances of making the roster. With the Ben Watson injury opening a spot, Ochi may get an opportunity.
Second Half Losers
- De’Ondre Wesley- Wesley had a costly penalty that cost the Ravens a touchdown. It didn’t affect the outcome of the game, but it sure wasn’t helpful to Wesley’s already slim chances of making the roster.
- Chris Matthews- Dropped a perfectly well thrown pass to him in the red zone. With how well Jeremy Butler played, Matthews’s chances of making the roster are similar to Wesley.
- Stephen Houston- Fumble on own half=very bad
- Arthur Brown- Brown was burned in coverage across the middle, and he frankly wasn’t very noticeable. I really can’t remember seeing him do anything besides blow said coverage.
Overall, very impressive win by the Ravens. This was clearly the Ravens best showing this preseason. There are a few negative take aways, but the defense was stingy, and the first team offense looked great. The picture of who will make the roster and who won’t is becoming clearer.