Ravens: 4 things we learned from the team’s preseason opener
The Baltimore Ravens opened their 2021 season with a narrow 17-14 victory over the New Orleans Saints at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday night.
In so doing, they extended their historic preseason winning streak to 18 games, dating all the way back to the 2015 season.
Due to injuries, illness, and the general nature of preseason play, the Ravens mostly rolled out second and third-stringers for much of the game.
While they came away with the ‘W,’ it was far from a perfect showing, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
1. Tyler Huntley takes the lead in the battle for Ravens QB2
Head coach John Harbaugh understandably elected to play it safe and sit starting quarterback Lamar Jackson for the game. Earlier this week, Jackson returned from a 10-day hiatus after testing positive for COVID-19 for the second time in less than a year.
This left the Ravens’ offense in the hands of backups Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley, who have spent training camp fighting for the coveted position of Jackson’s backup. If their performances against the Saints are any indication, it looks as though Huntley has the advantage.
Despite a decent 11-of-18 performance, McSorley could hardly generate any offense for the Ravens, with their only first-half points coming from three field goals.
In his defense, the Ravens’ makeshift offensive line didn’t exactly help his cause (more on that later), as the Saints’ defensive line constantly took advantage of this weakness and pressured McSorley into making throws he did not want to make.
McSorley also reportedly suffered back spasms throughout the game, so it’s somewhat of a miracle he generated as much offense as he did.
When Huntley took over in the second half, he had a slightly easier time of it, as the Saints rested their defensive starters. The more mobile Huntley, who at times came off as a carbon copy of Jackson, finally broke the Ravens’ offense out of its deadlock with his legs and his arm.
Huntley went 12-of-16 for 78 passing yards and rushed for 43 yards on seven carries, including the game-winning touchdown with 6:35 remaining.