Last night, the Ravens lost in blowout fashion to a Panthers team that had almost zero offensive production. Thats not a great way to go down. The Panthers scored on a Punt return, a fumble return and a pair of pick sixes.
The Ravens offense shredded the Panthers on their first drive, easily marching down the field for a score. From there they puttered around the field not accomplishing much, then the wheels fell off and Flacco threw 2 picks(a third was nullified by penalty) and Bernard Pierce coughed up a fumble. The second team wasnt much better, and The Ravens even lost Tyrod Taylor to a concussion.
Bad stuff aside, the Ravens showed some serious flashes. On their first offensive drive, they were completely unstoppable. They did whatever they wanted. Ray Rice ripped off big runs, one to set up a 2 yard TD and another to really get the drive going. Flacco also hit Brandon Stokley for a nifty first down. This drive was what the Ravens offense is supposed to look like. If they can have 3 or 4 such drives per game, the Ravens are going to be a very good team.
The two Ravens newcomers, Dallas clark and Brandon Stokley, got some action for the first time. Stokley looked alot like Dennis Pitta in terms of his chemistry with Flacco and the way he ran his routes. He was crafty and still has a great first step quickness. His hands look as good as ever and he had some nice plays.
Also, can we please talk about Marlon Brown for a second? I mean wow. Browns stats were good, but not jaw dropping, but his play was amazing. HE caught a 24 yard TD in the third quarter in which he looked more polished than maybe any rookie WR in the league. It was a great route, he used his 6’5″ frame to box out defenders and extended for a nice grab and split a pair of defenders to waltz into the endzone. It was all about technique and his big frame. Brown is the real deal and he deserves more time with the starters, if not a shot at the starting job opposite Torrey Smith(note: I said a shot at the job, im not overreacting and saying he is the best receiver on the roster or anything). Given the ineptness of Tandon Doss and the injury to Deonte Thompson, Brown actually looks very good to see a lot of field time in the early part of the season, if he plays well, they wont take him off once other players get healthier.
Speaking of receivers, I want to get a little negative here and bring up Tandon Doss. What the heck is going on with you man. You’re thinking to much about what you need to do(in terms of making plays to win a job). just go out and play the game. Calm down, take a breath. You have been playing this game your whole life. You know how to do, just relax. Doss is all over the place. He is misreading defenses, failing to pick up hot reads and not looking the ball into his hands. These are basic football principals that Doss should be extremely comfortable with. this looks like jitters to me, but he has it all the time. Doss is a practice stud, but I think he has a habit of going into a shell when the lights come on. Doss played worse than any Raven on the field last night. It wasn’t a close competition.
For any Ravens fans in panic mode, just look northwest where the Patriots got completely drubbed by the Detroit Lions 40-9. Preseason means nothing in terms of wins and losses and really, to a degree, stats. The Ravens actually looked pretty good last night and I think they are massively holding back on offense. There were a lot of good things to build around here.