Joe Flacco Delivers: Baltimore Ravens vs New York Giants Wrap-Up
This was billed as the preseason game to see as the starters were expected to play, at the very least, the entire first half.
With the 24-10 victory, the Ravens continue their preseason winning ways. The team is 3-0 this preseason and on a seven game preseason-winning streak.
Injuries: Wide Receiver Donte' Stallworth sustained a broken foot at some point during the game. Coach John Harbaugh said the injury is not season ending. Stallworth will get surgery almost immediately and have a pin inserted. Harbaugh stated that the team hopes to have him back by the bye week, which is at the end of October.
Mark Clayton left the game with a concussion after a hit from Antrel Rolle. Rolle was flagged on the play for the hit on the defenseless receiver. The flag led to a Ravens touchdown, but I am sure the Ravens would trade the seven points for a healthy Clayton.
QB: The talk after last week’s game against the Redskins was that Marc Bulger looked better than Joe Flacco. Flacco, the third-year QB, laid that talk to rest, abusing the Giants defense through the air.
Flacco threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns while playing into the early third quarter of the game. Flacco spread the wealth to his receiving core, connecting to Anquan Boldin, Todd Heap, Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton.
Offense: The offense had a shaky start going three and out in the first offensive series. Things began to gel quickly after the first two series. Over the past few years the Ravens have become a more offensive team. This season may be the turning point where fans cease viewing them as a team based only on defense to a team that is balanced on both sides of the ball.
The offense ran a lot of plays without a huddle and looked very confident in doing so, drawing no penalties as they went with the no huddle.
Offensive Line: The line had a poor start, allowing Joe Flacco to be sacked twice during the first four plays of the game. They came together as the game progressed but the question mark of Michael Oher at left tackle remains as he took false start penalty in the third quarter.
Kickers: Another game where neither Billy Cundiff nor Shayne Graham made a mistake. The Ravens will need to make a decision very soon at this position. If neither makes a glaring mistake in Thursday’s final preseason game it will be a coin flip as to which player the team keeps.
Anquan Boldin: Boldin had not been very visible in the preseason prior to this game, but he and Flacco finally clicked against the Giants. Boldin ended the game with four catches for 52 yards and one touchdown. Boldin also played well away from the ball, most notably when he threw a defender to the ground on a Ray Rice run.
Defense: Early in the game the defense looked unsteady. On one running play Ahmad Bradshaw had players diving, slipping and missing tackles like a second string high school team. The starters did not allow a touchdown, but they did not leave fans with a high level of confidence either.
With Ray Lewis at the helm, I would expect the defense to be a lot tighter and in sync when the season opens against the Jets on September 13.
Haruki Nakamura: A good all around game for the safety. The highlight of the game was his interception near the end of the second half. Nakamura seems fully recovered from the broken ankle he sustained on November 16. Opposing teams would be wise to keep an eye on this highly motivated player.
The Ravens final preseason game will be Thursday September 2 against the St Louis Rams. Three days later all NFL teams need to reduce their rosters to 53 players. Thursday will be the final test for players on the bubble of making the team.
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