Ravens vs. Saints grades, preseason week 1

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Aug 13, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Marcus Murphy (48) carries the ball as Baltimore Ravens cornerback Asa Jackson (27) defends during the first quarter in a preseason NFL football game at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Defense: B-

Drew Brees didn’t play, so we can’t give them too much credit, but the defense got it done Thursday night.  Josh McCown didn’t stand a chance for the majority of the game as the Saints had a total of 11 yards of offense into the second quarter.

The Saints went 18 minutes before recording a first down and only held the ball for 3:06 in the first quarter.  Things only really started to fall apart after the Ravens subbed in their deep reserves, which allowed McCown to get the Saints on the board.

Arthur Brown (remember him?) led the Ravens in tackles with 6, including one for a loss.  But the real story was rookie linebacker Za’Darius Smith, who was all over the field Thursday night.  The rookie finished with 4 tackles, one sack, one tackle for a loss, one pass defensed, and two QB hits.

The Ravens gave up an even 100 yards rushing, 2 touchdowns vs. 0 interceptions, and let the Saints go on a 27-3 run to end the game.  But the first and second team defense dominated, which is ultimately what really counts.

Next: Special teams

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