One of the most impressive yet ultimately inconsequential streaks in all of sports came to a bitter end on Monday night with the Baltimore Ravens falling to the Washington Commanders 29-28 in a preseason edition of Monday Night Football.
It had been nearly a decade since the Ravens last lost a preseason game with the last occurrence being September 3, 2015, in a narrow 20-19 defeat at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. Given that their last exhibition loss went down to the wire, it only seemed fitting that their first in eight years also end in dramatic fashion.
The Ravens came into this game with just two quarterbacks since starter Lamar Jackson wasn’t going to play and projected primary backup Tyler Huntley was inactive with a hamstring tweak.
Both veteran Josh Johnson and second-year pro Anthony Brown played well and first-round rookie Zay Flowers was the brightest star of the night for the Ravens with a pair of catches for 37 receiving yards including, his first touchdown as a pro.
A part of the loss was the same thing that kept it alive for all these years: defensive depth. With the Ravens down five cornerbacks due to injury prior to the game and the team not opting to keep players with expected roles in past the half, the Ravens were on fumes nearing the end. It also led to rookie cornerback Kyu Kelly appearing to play through injury as he limped on the sideline late in the fourth quarter.
After the game Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh spoke about how disappointing it is to lose the streak and how proud he was of the overall effort from his players that tried their best to keep it alive.
"I'm so proud of these guys for the way they fought."— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 22, 2023
Coach Harbaugh on the preseason streak. pic.twitter.com/RqFpdRR6cA
“The thing that you’re proud of is that all of those games were mostly just like that,” Harbaugh said. “Preseason games that people want to write about, some of you in here want to write about and say that they don’t mean anything because you never played the game.
“You never were out there in a preseason game, you never were out there fighting for a spot on a team, and yet you have the audacity to say that the effort that somebody puts in to that, to win and fight and win a game like that is meaningless.”