Four plays into their first offensive series, Flacco’s pass for Anquan Boldin was picked off by Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who returned the interception 52 yards for a touchdown.
Luckily for Flacco and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, things got much better from there.
Flacco finished 17-of-27 for 219 yards, two touchdowns and the interception, Ray Rice had 72 yards rushing and a touchdown on just 13 carries, and the receiving duo of Boldin and Lee Evans combined for 133 yards and two touchdown grabs in Baltimore’s 34-31 win over the Redskins.
“We didn’t flinch when we got down early, 14-0,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “We came back on both offense and defense.”
The Ravens improve to 2-1 on the preseason, but we all know that means nothing. What does mean something is that the offense showed signs of improvement after a shaky start, Flacco found a groove for the first time all preseason, and the defense consistently got pressure at the quarterback.
“I think we responded pretty well (from the slow start),” Flacco said. “We went down there and put the ball in the end zone three times tonight. We came out strong in the second half and finished off a drive, so I think we’ve got to be pretty happy with there we are.”
It wasn’t all roses and gumdrops tonight, however.
Baltimore’s offensive line again looked like Swiss Cheese, allowing four sacks and a number of quarterback hits, their cornerbacks gave up a handful of big plays, and rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith had more drops than receptions for the third straight game.
Defensively, the Ravens’ first-team allowed two first half touchdowns, one of which again came late in the second quarter with the opposition running their two-minute offense.
“I think as a unit, we can do better,” defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. “Obviously, we let them get two touchdowns on us, and we’ve got to get off the field on those third downs. But, we’ve just got to make sure we tighten up those plays. There’s next week to practice, then we’ve got to get ready for those Steelers.”
All-in-all, it was a bit of a mixed bag tonight. But the Ravens will leave M&T Bank Stadium with another preseason win, some offensive momentum, and at least at first glance, without any major injuries.
And they’ll take that.