The Ravens’ offensive line is giving Joe Flacco oodles and oodles of time to pass, and the results were quite good in a solid first quarter. The quarterback completed nine of 14 passes for 104 yards, but the unit’s biggest problem persists - no touchdowns.
Converting in the red zone and finishing drives had to be the No. 1 offense’s primary aim in this one, but so far, no good. The Ravens got close on their second drive, but had to settle for a Justin Tucker 33-yard field goal.
They seem to have a rhythm, and Ray Rice even broke one off for 28 yards. But the Ravens lost 10 yards once in the red zone and couldn’t make the Jaguars pay.
Most encouraging is that the defense is buzzing around Blaine Gabbert, and came up with a teeth-rattling sack from Haloti Ngata. Jacksonville has managed next to nothing, hasn’t threatened to score in the slightest.
Instant update: Scratch that touchdown drought for the offense.
On a drive bridging from the first into the second quarter, the Ravens crossed the goal line - 12 plays, 85 yards, 4:59 chewed off the clock and Flacco found Anquan Boldin for a 5-yard touchdown pass. That makes it 10-0 Baltimore nearly three minutes into the second quarter.
It’s no exaggeration to say the team needed that. The top offense seems to be gaining chemistry, is effective with its quick-huddle passing attack and is moving on the ground tonight. But one touchdown from the starters through two preseason games was a tad disheartening.
Flacco and his teammates wanted to finish, and rightfully so. And finally for the first time since the second quarter in Atlanta, the goal line was breached.
Update II: Tucker splits with room to spare from 53 yards to increase the Ravens’ lead to 13-0 with 6:44 to go in the half.
He’s done nothing but make kicks, and has got to be making the team’s decision between him and Billy Cundiff a difficult one.