Ravens’ first-team defense looking solid, but Bucs score first (TB up 6-0)

There’s a lot to like about the performance of a very different Ravens defense, but the Buccaneers have struck first in the teams’ preseason opener.

After Baltimore stood up Tampa Bay for a three and out on the game’s first possession, the Bucs drove 56 yards in 11 plays and 5:55 following former Raven Danny Gorrer’s interception of Joe Flacco.

Derek Dimke booted a 29-yard field goal with 4:14 remaining in the first quarter to give Tampa Bay the 3-0 lead.

On the opening drive, the Ravens’ defense was flying around, stifling the Bucs.

Cornerback Chykie Brown nearly picked off a pass, linebacker Daryl Smith had a tackle for loss and defensive lineman Chris Canty chased Tampa Bay by sacking Josh Freeman for an 8-yard loss.

The Ravens’ first possession had a promising start with two first downs. Vonta Leach moved the chains by hauling a 14-yard play-action pass and Ray Rice made a one-handed grab for 11 yards on the following third down.

But Gorrer stepped in front of Jacoby Jones and picked off Flacco to take the ball back

Update: The Ravens stuck with the majority of their defensive starters for a third series, and Smith is looking mighty impressive so far.

He’s a ballhawk who already has been credited with five tackles and brings tons of pressure. On the most recent Bucs possession, he came close to forcing backup quarterback Mike Glennon to fumble. The play was initially ruled a turnover, recovered by Courtney Upshaw. But it was overturned on review and ruled an incomplete pass. Close call, but Glennon’s arm was moving forward.

That gave Tampa Bay enough life to up its lead to 6-0 on Dimke’s second field goal, a 35-yarder 2:21 into the second quarter. That capped an eight-play, 77-yard drive that was keyed by Glennon’s 61-yard pass on the final play of the first quarter.

Flacco’s night is done after two possessions and Tyrod Taylor is in the game. Flacco finished 7-for-9 for 57 yards and an interception.

The Ravens punted on Taylor’s first drive, but the Bucs fumbled the kick and LaQuan Williams recovered at the Tampa Bay 20. Big chance for the Ravens.