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Ravens vs. Colts final recap: Up-and-down game leaves much to be desired

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens leave Indianapolis with a 20-19 victory in Monday Night Football’s Week 2 preseason match up. Baltimore has now won 11-straight preseason games.

Quarterback Joe Flacco looked sharp to begin the game, including a 29-yard pass to the sideline for wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Flacco capped off his night with an impressive seven-yard touchdown to John Brown. Flacco finished the night 7/9 for 72 yards and a touchdown. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley left the game early with an injury. He later returned to the sideline with his knee wrapped.

The Ravens starting defense was particularly impressive, forcing a three and out on the first drive. After a fumble by punt returner Tim White to set the Colts up within the 15-yard line, Baltimore’s defense stood strong with an interception by safety Anthony Levine Sr. The Ravens limited Andrew Luck to a mere six completions for 50 yards, including an interception and two sacks. Baltimore’s pass rush dominated Indianapolis’ offensive line in the first half. Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith both recorded sacks. Smith was dominant while in the game, constantly in the backfield creating pressure.

The Colts scored their first touchdown when Michael Pierce stripped the ball at the goal line, only to be recovered in the end zone by Colts receiver Chester Rodgers.

Lamar Jackson struggled to start the night, starting 0/4 and almost fumbling the ball by taking an unnecessary hit while running out of the pocket. Jackson finished the half by leading a nice drive down the field for a field goal, however. His accuracy has been an issue so far in training camp and the preseason and it continued against the Colts. Jackson finished the night strong with a seven-yard touchdown throw to Chris Moore after a fumble by the Colts on the kickoff to open the second half.

Running back Kenneth Dixon had a strong game both on the ground and in the passing game in his first game back in over a year. Dixon finished the night with six rushes for 32 yards and three receptions for 24 yards. Dixon is fighting for a roster spot after several injuries and suspensions through his three-year career.

The returner competition did not become any clearer against the Colts as both White and Janarion Grant fumbled the ball on returns. Grant clearly looked better before fumbling, however. For now, though, it is either man’s job to take.

Rookie receiver Jordan Lasley continued his struggles of catching the ball with a dropped catch for what would have been an easy touchdown from Robert Griffin III. The battle for the final few receiver spots has yet to yield clear results. The battle is currently between Grant, White, Lasley, Jaleel Scott and Breshad Perriman.

The Ravens defense suffocated Indianapolis and quarterback Jacoby Brissett all night long. Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser both recorded sacks late in the game and Stanley Jean-Baptiste grabbed an interception. Baltimore’s run defense looked stout. The defense finished with four sacks, two interceptions and forced fumble.