Even when the Baltimore Ravens don’t put all their effort into winning a preseason game, they can’t lose.
Despite sitting just about every key player on the roster for Thursday night’s preseasons opener against the Tennessee Titans, the Ravens won again. They extended their NFL record by winning their 21st straight preseason game 23-10. The Ravens haven’t lost a preseason game since 2015.
Last year the Ravens won their 20th straight preseason game to break the record of 19 set by Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers from 1959-62. Even though John Harbaugh didn’t downplay the streak last year, he also wasn’t going to risk his front-line players to injury to keep it going.
After taking on a remarkable amount of injuries last season, the Ravens decided to sit 32 players on Thursday according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic.
Five things we learned from the Ravens’ 23-10 preseason win over the Tennessee Titans - Childs Walker
After an uneven beginning to training camp, Tyler Huntley reminded us why he’s QB2.
But Huntley looked like his 2021 self against the Titans, getting the ball out quickly and on target without taking many risks. He overthrew Tylan Wallace on third down with a Tennessee defender (who had badly beaten left tackle Ja’Wuan James) in his face. Otherwise, he didn’t make any bad throws, completing 16 of 18 for 110 yards and a touchdown as the Ravens built a 14-10 halftime lead.
“Tyler played great,” coach John Harbaugh said. “His numbers were off the charts. He ran the offense really well.”
The performance reassured Huntley that he’s on track physically. “I’m feeling way better,” he said.
We still don’t have a decisive leader in the running back competition.
Mike Davis started and was most effective running to the outside. He took advantage of a mauling down-block from right tackle Daniel Faalele and a nice seal from pulling left guard Tyre Phillips to score the first touchdown of the game.
Davis held serve with his performance (five carries for 22 yards) against the Titans, and none of the other aspirants took a huge step forward. Justice Hill and Tyler Badie, both strong candidates to make the roster as third-down backs, combined for 30 yards on nine carries. Nate McCrary, always a feisty runner, ripped off a 21-yard gain late in the third quarter, but we’ve seen him do that in past preseason games. Former Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys backup Corey Clement, added to the roster the day before camp began, carried four times for 17 yards late in the game.
Stock Watch: Ravens vs. Titans, Preseason 1 - Clifton Brown
WR Shemar Bridges
Using his 6-foot-4 size to his advantage, Bridges caught four passes for 62 yards and a touchdown and showed his potential to be a big-bodied target in the receiving corps. The undrafted rookie from Fort Valley State entered training camp as a long shot to make the roster, but he had two acrobatic catches when he simply elevated over defenders to make plays, including a 14-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.
WR Makai Polk
With six catches for 43 yards, Polk also made plays with top receivers Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay and James Proche II all sitting out. Another undrafted rookie, Polk was targeted a team-high eight times and showed his ability to get open.
TE Isaiah Likely
With four catches for 44 yards, Likely’s playmaking carried over from training camp into the preseason. He made a superb leaping catch in the second quarter that displayed his athleticism. However, Likely’s blocking was not nearly as impressive. He was called for two holding penalties that nullified two nice runs by Justice Hill, and Likely will clearly have to work on his technique. However, the fourth-round rookie hasn’t looked fazed at any point since joining the Ravens and has displayed his potential to play an immediate role in Baltimore’s offense.
WR Tylan Wallace
The second-year receiver suffered a minor knee sprain, according to Head Coach John Harbaugh. Wallace had hoped to take advantage of starting Thursday night, but his night ended in the first quarter.
Ravens have a special rookie. With all the pomp and circumstance that accompanied Matt Araiza into the draft process, it was surprising to some when the Ravens used a fourth-round pick to make Jordan Stout the first punter taken in the 2022 NFL Draft. Stout’s showing Thursday was an example of just why a club known for its special teams prowess pounced on Stout. He was booming punts and kickoffs throughout the Ravens’ NFL-record 21st straight preseason win. Stout’s final punting line saw an average of 47.8 yards on four punts with one coming to rest inside the 20. The long-locked, scruffy-bearded Penn State product is going to tilt the field in the Ravens’ favor plenty of times to come.
• Polk caught six of his eight targets to lead the team
• The Ravens averaged 1.3 yards before contact per rush and allowed three sacks as a team.
• Tyre Phillips began the game at left guard before kicking out to left tackle and performing solidly.
• Baltimore allowed 4.7 yards per rush but only 0.2 yards before contact per attempt.
• Aaron Crawford’s two defensive stops tied for the team lead.
• It was a mixed bag from the Ravens linebackers, particularly when facing the athleticism of Malik Willis.
• Malik Harrison was the only Ravens linebacker to notch a defensive stop. He also forced a fumble.
• Baltimore’s defense was impressive against the pass, causing two interceptions and limiting the Titans to 5.1 yards per pass.
• Geno Stone notched the interception that he had been threatening earlier in the game.