The Ravens defense came to life Saturday night against the Redskins following two lackluster efforts early in the preseason. The first team offensive unit of the Redskins struggled to get anything going through the air or on the ground as the Raven’s pass rushers brought relentless pressure.
Joe Flacco looked sharp in his half of play, completing 16 of 23 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown. Steve Smith had a big night with 6 receptions for 80 yards and a diving touchdown in the end zone. Torrey Smith had a nice showing as well, racking up 41 yards on 4 catches.
Unfortunately, the run game didn’t show up for the first time this preseason. The Ravens could only muster 82 yards on 28 attempts as a team for a paltry 2.9 average. On top of that, Bernard Pierce exited the game early following a big hit by Redskin’s safety Brandon Meriweather with a possible concussion.
We have tracked down all the reaction from around the interwebs following last night’s victory and have them here for your convenience. You can check out our own reactions from Ken Jackson here, and Chris Kafka here.
Steve Smith is the missing piece for Raven’s offense
The Raven’s offense sorely missed the presence of tough possession receiver Anquan Boldin last season, so much so that they went out and signed a similar player in Steve Smith this offseason. And the addition of Smith is already paying dividends, as evidenced by last night’s performance.
Andrea Hangst at Bleacher Report points out that Smith is the missing piece that Joe Flacco and the Raven’s offense so desperately needed last year. Smith is going to be an excellent complimentary piece to the speedy Torrey Smith, and should take a good bit of defensive attention off of him.
Report card grades for each Raven’s unit
Also at Bleacher Report are Jason Marcum’s report card grades for each Raven’s position unit. The run game got a fairly bad score following an underwhelming performance, but thankfully the quarterbacks showed up and both had a solid showing to compensate. This, in spite of the fact that the offensive line had perhaps its worst performance of the young season. Flacco was under constant duress in the first half, absorbing two sacks and numerous hits.
Five thoughts following Raven’s win
John Eisenberg at the Raven’s official site has five thoughts following the Raven’s victory Saturday night. Among them are how the Ravens proved us wrong about the defense. Pretty much everyone, including us, thought that RG3 and DeSean Jackson would have a field day against the pitiful cornerback depth chart. When the dust settled, the Redskin’s starting duo managed a meager 20 yards passing with 0 catches and 0 yards receiving.
Bernard Pierce leaves game with possible concussion
Bernard Pierce took a massive hit to the head from the notorious Brandon Meriweather, prompting him to head back to the locker room for concussion testing. Pierce has a full two weeks to recover before the start of the regular season, and was unlikely to play in the fourth preseason game regardless. But it’s still bad news for a team that was counting on Pierce to fill the void left by Ray Rice’s suspension in the first two weeks of the season.
Observations from Saturday night
Jamison Hensley at ESPN provides his observations from last nights victory, including the emergence of Steve Smith thanks to his increased comfort in the offense. Aside from Joe Flacco’s solid half of action, the biggest surprise was that the starting cornerback duo of Chykie Brown and Dominique Franks held up admirably. Of course, the pressure caused by the Raven’s front seven contributed to that success in a big way.
Highlights from Saturday night’s game
BaltimoreRavens.com has all the video highlights from the game here.