The morning after the Ravens' 23-3 win over the Redskins, here are three positives and three negatives that we can take from the game:
- Marc Bulger's performance. The Ravens' backup quarterback went 13-for-16 for 130 yards last night, and every pass seemed to be right on the money, be it on a slant to David Reed, a ball up the seam to Dennis Pitta, or on a fly pattern to Donte' Stallworth. The Ravens paid Bulger $3.8 million this offseason to solidify their backup quarterback position. At the time of the signing, some claimed that Troy Smith could do a sufficient job as the Ravens' back-up and adding Bulger wasn't necessary. I don't think we'll hear from those people much this week.
- Pass protection. A week after allowing six sacks to the Panthers, the Ravens only allowed two to the Skins, both of which came in the fourth quarter against Baltimore's third-team offense. Washington can really get after the quarterback, and while they didn't blitz as much as Carolina did, they still brought some pressure, and the Ravens did a good job of keeping Joe Flacco and their quarterbacks upright. Tony Moll did well filling in for Oniel Cousins at right tackle.
- Terrell Suggs. The Ravens' linebacker was explosive off the ball all night, and took Redskins rookie offensive tackle Trent Williams to school on more than a few occasions. Suggs blew by Williams to sack Donovan McNabb in the second quarter, a play where he showed off his new fitness by speed rushing around the edge. Head coach John Harbaugh praised Suggs' play and how fast he's been taking off at the snap of the ball.
- The first-team offense. The Ravens looked out of sync from the get-go on offense, putting the ball on the turf three times in their first four possessions, and struggling to put together any type of momentum. Flacco missed open receivers and spent a lot of his time checking the ball down to Ray Rice and Willis McGahee, and a false start penalty by Michael Oher negated a first-down and eventually forced the Ravens to punt.
- The big play. The Ravens allowed 10 passes of at least 17 yards, six of which came against their first-team defense. This was an issue with the Ravens' secondary at times last year, and they have to hope that it's just a preseason problem this year. Cornerback Travis Fisher, who started opposite Fabian Washington, was responsible for a handful of the big plays allowed in the passing game, and probably got jumped on the depth chart by Cary Williams after last night's contest.
- Wide receiver Justin Harper. Harper's inability to make plays in preseason games is starting to become more than just a trend. Harper clearly has a lot of raw talent, and he possesses the size and speed to be a quality NFL receiver. But it's hard to be a receiver at this level - at any level, actually - when you don't catch the ball. With the Ravens driving late in the second quarter, Harper dropped a third down pass from Bulger which hit him square in the chest. Instead of moving the sticks and continuing the drive, the Ravens had to settle for a field goal. On a night when David Reed really helped himself, Harper took another step back.