Ravens win game, but starting units play poorly

Ravens win game, but starting units play poorly
August 15, 2013, 10:30 pm
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Joe Flacco won't change his personality

Final score: Ravens 27, Falcons 23

Game Recap - Trailing 23-7 after three quarters, the Ravens rallied thanks to their backups and special teams. Tyrod Taylor threw two fourth-quarter TD passes, and Asa Jackson added a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown to give the Ravens the lead. However, the Falcons dominated when the starters were in the game, building a 20-7 halftime lead that could have been larger. The Ravens’ first-team offense was abysmal, with only three first downs in the first half, even though the starters played the first two quarters. The lone bright spot was Torrey Smith’s 73-yard TD catch, which Smith did largely with his legs. On defense, the Ravens’ pass coverage was porous. Cornerback Jimmy Smith couldn’t cover Julio Jones, who had three catches for 55 yards and a TD. Ravens coach John Harbaugh summed it up at halftime. “That’s about as bad as we can play.”

Key moment-  With the Ravens already trailing 13-7, a Joe Flacco pass intended for Jacoby Jones was deflected and intercepted by Asante Samuel, who returned the ball inside the five-yard line before he fumbled. The Falcons recovered, followed by a two-yard TD run by Jacquizz Rodgers on the next play. That typified a bad night for the Ravens' first-team offense.

Players of the Game:

Falcons: Julio Jones – Truly a big-time receiver. He’s also the kind of receiver the Ravens are going to have trouble with until cornerback Lardarius Webb comes back. Webb, recovering from knee surgery, has looked good in practice. But he didn’t play tonight, and the Ravens are being careful with him. They should be careful with Webb. Come Week 1, the Ravens are going to need Webb.

Ravens: Torrey Smith – He’s having great practices, and he’s bringing that intensity to the field. Smith is embracing his role as the Ravens’ new No. 1 receiver. On his TD, he turned a simple crossing pattern into a huge play, easily outrunning Asante Samuel and William Moore to the end zone. Smith doesn’t have to catch deep passes to make big plays. His run-after-catch ability makes him a threat on any play. His first 1,000-yard season is clearly within reach.

Roster Impact: A. Q. Shipley got the start at center, but hurt himself in the battle with Gino Gradkowski. Shipley was penalized twice in the first half, and the offensive line did not play well as a unit. Gradkowski looks like the leader to start at center. As for the wide receivers, Aaron Mellette had a nice 40-yard TD reception from Tyrod Taylor in the fourth quarter. That’s two touchdowns in two games for Mellette. Tandon Doss also had a touchdown reception. Newcomer Brandon Stokley saw action in the second quarter, but never had a pass thrown his way.

From the Locker Room: Flacco – “We were just sloppy. We never got into a rhythm. The one drive we did score on, it was just one play."

Linebacker Terrell Suggs –“This was good for us – a little humble pie. We had a lot of success last week, with everything pretty much going our way. Atlanta is a very good team, and you can’t make the mistakes we did. It’s that simple.”