The Baltimore Ravens scored on offense, defense, and special teams, beating the Dallas Cowboys, 37-30, in the second week of NFL Preseason action on Aug. 16 in Arlington, Texas.
Starting players do not usually get a lot of time on the field during the preseason because coaches don’t want to risk hurting their best players in games that don’t count against the regular season record. But Ravens head coach John Harbaugh allowed most of his starters to play nearly the entire first half of the game Saturday night.
It was during the first half that the Ravens found a way to score touchdowns, not only on offense, but defensively and via their special teams unit, as well. Dallas started the game on offense, but Baltimore scored the first points. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo botched a handoff, allowing Ravens’ third-year linebacker Courtney Upshaw to scoop up the fumbled ball and run it back 26 yards for a defensive touchdown.
Romo did, however, bounce back the following offensive series to link up with star receiver Dez Bryant on a 31-yard touchdown pass and catch, tying the game at 7. Bryant out-leaped Ravens’ backup cornerback Dominique Franks for an impressive catch in the end-zone. Franks was in the game because Ravens star cornerback Jimmy Smith left the field due to a chest contusion. Smith was banged up falling to the ground hard during a nice pass breakup on Bryant a few plays earlier.
After the Romo-Bryant touchdown, Baltimore recaptured the lead with a 108-yard kick return for a touchdown by receiver/return specialist Deonte Thompson. As the fastest player on the Ravens team, Thompson saw an opening on the left side of the field and zoomed pass the Cowboys’ kicker for the special teams score.
The early defensive and specials teams scores came at a price for the Ravens as seven-year quarterback Joe Flacco and the rest of the offensive unit was stuck on the sidelines until about the eight-minute mark of the first quarter. Without getting any early time on the field, the Ravens’ offense was out of rhythm and struggled until late in the second quarter. Baltimore eventually put together a 96-yard scoring drive, capped off by a perfect 19-yard touchdown strike from Flacco to four-year receiver Torrey Smith. Baltimore led, 27-10, at halftime.
The second half was given to the backups and other players fighting to secure a spot on the final 53-man roster. Dallas’ backups fought hard to make a comeback, scoring 20 points in the second half. Baltimore’s reserves generated just 10 points in the second half, enough to hold off the Cowboys for a 37-30 win.
Baltimore will next host the Washington franchise in a home game during week three of the preseason 7:30 p.m. Aug. 23 at M&T Bank Stadium.