Bobby Rainey, Marlon Brown off to good starts (Mellette, too; Ravens down 17-14)

Tailback Bobby Rainey and wideout Marlon Brown are the kind of guys who have something to play for tonight, and both are performing well early on in St. Louis.

The Ravens have made this a pretty typical fourth preseason game with few starters and veterans participating. If you were hoping to see Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Elvis Dumervil, Lardarius Webb and Terrell Suggs, you’ll be disappointed.

If you’re OK with seeing a number of youngsters duke it out for the final spots on the roster, you’ll enjoy this one.

Tight end Dallas Clark is one of the only Ravens veterans participating, mainly because he needs more experience in the offense since he signed well after camp started.

Rainey has already run eight times for 15 yards, but that includes a 13-yard run and an impressive effort for a 1-yard touchdown. Out to be a depth running back and special-teamer, Rainey showed he’s a no-quit kind of player in giving the Ravens a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. He was stopped shy of the goal line on his first try, again on his second try, and then bulled through with one last effort for a score.

Brown also made his mark right away with an 11-yard catch for a first down. At 6-foot-5 with good hands and big-play ability, it’s starting to be difficult to imagine the undrafted rookie wideout being left off the 53-man roster. He entered the game as the Ravens’ leading receiver this preseason.

Tandon Doss is another wideout vying for a roster spot and he’s had an uneven night so far. He made a 7-yard catch, but also was pulled aside by coach John Harbaugh when appearing to run the wrong route on a play that contributed to a Caleb Hanie interception.

And that leads us to the mistakes. The Rams already have fumbled three times, losing two. They fumbled on the opening kickoff but recovered, lost a fumble on the first series and did the same the next time they got the ball.

Hanie’s interception on Baltimore’s first possession is their only (only?) turnover so far.

The Rams do have one scoring drive, cutting the Ravens’ lead to 7-3 with a 46-yard field goal with 2:40 to go in the opening quarter.

Update: Despite being outgained 235-99 in the first half, the Ravens take a 14-10 lead into the locker room.

Rainey has run for both touchdowns with the last being another tackle-breaking second effort. The 8-yard scoring rush gave him 23 yards on nine carries tonight. He’s again making it hard for coaches to cut him, but if he is let go, he’s making a case to be scooped up by someone.

Brown and fellow rookie wideout Aaron Mellette both made catches on the two-minute drill drive that returned the lead to the Ravens, who allowed 10 straight points after taking a 7-0 lead.

Mellette has two receptions for 24 yards and Brown has two for 21 so far.

Defensively, first-round safety Matt Elam and fellow defensive back Omar Brown both have four tackles. Cornerback Chykie Brown is having a rough night, being picked on by Kellen Clemens and the Rams offense.

Update II: Not much has changed as we head to the fourth quarter.

The Ravens still lead 14-10, but the Rams are in the red zone. Baltimore had the ball on the Rams’ 1 at one point, but coughed it up on an Anthony Allen fumble. The Ravens got there, however, thanks to the sudden appearance of Doss, who made back-to-back deep catches for a combined 60 yards. The first went for 20, the second for 40.

Update III: Rams quarterback Austin Davis connected with Nick Johnson for a 4-yard touchdown to give their team a 17-14 lead less than a minute into the fourth quarter.