The second game of the Baltimore Ravens 2016 preseason is in the books and the Ravens are off to a 2-0 start after a 19-18 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 20 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Josh Johnson (2) throws against the Indianapolis Colts during the second half of an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/R Brent Smith)
Though preseason wins and losses are no indication of how well a team will play once the regular season starts, there are still important factors to pay attention to throughout a preseason game. Here’s the must-know info of the Ravens’ victory over the Colts.
Still No Flacco Yet
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco still hasn’t played in the 2016 preseason. Flacco has been looking sharp in practices this summer with no sign of pain from the knee-injury that ended his season last year, but head coach John Harbaugh must still be taking extra precautions—there’s no sense in risking your franchise star in meaningless games. Veteran star receiver Steve Smith, Sr. also sat out this game, despite being cleared to play now. Both players may be suited up to play in Week Three.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jeremy Butler (17) makes a catch for a touchdown in front of Indianapolis Colts defensive back Darius White (37) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/R Brent Smith)
Andrew Luck Was Impressive
The Colts’ offense looked 10 times better than Baltimore’s during the first two offensive series of the game, and that probably has a lot to do with the fact that while Flacco sat, Colts star quarterback Andrew Luck played. Luck completed a perfect 8-for-8 pass attempts during his brief stint on the field and moved Indy’s offensive unit down the field with ease against the Ravens defense. He didn’t throw any touchdowns, but it’s safe to assume he would have found the end zone had he played the entire game.
Ravens Defense Bends but Doesn’t Break
The Ravens’ starting defensive unit allowed Luck and the Colts’ first string offense to move effortlessly down the field during the first drive of the game. It was the same thing we saw happen against the MVP quarterback Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers offense in the Ravens’ first preseason game. But just like what happened against Carolina, the Ravens’ defense stiffened up in the red zone to keep the Colts’ starters from scoring a touchdown. Anytime you hold an opponent to three points on a field goal instead of seven points, you take it with no complaints. This “bend but don’t break” mentality is something Ravens fans will more than welcome in Baltimore.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Ryan Mallett (7) hands off to Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett (29) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Indianapolis, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)
Big Battle for the Backup Quarterback Spot
The backup QB position was usually an afterthought in Baltimore as Flacco played every snap and every game through the first seven seasons of his career. But after he went down with an injury last season, the team has to be prepared to fill the void, in case it happens again. Journeymen quarterbacks Ryan Mallett and Josh Johnson have both been battling through training camp for that backup role, and although Mallett is penciled in second string QB for now, Johnson may end up bumping him to third string. Johnson had a better outing in Week One than Mallett. Mallett improved in Week Two against the Colts, completing 6-of-8 pass attempts for 47 yards and a 14-yard touchdown to Kamar Aiken. But Johnson was even more impressive against Indianapolis Saturday, finishing with 72 passing yards and a 12-yard touchdown on 11-of-16 pass attempts completed. Johnson is also the more mobile of the quarterbacks and ran for 40 yards on five carries.
More Game Notes:
Rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley continues to impress, protecting the blind side for the Ravens’ offense. He didn’t allow a sack all game. Rookie pass rusher Matt Judon was also outstanding for the Ravens, picking up a sack for the second straight game.
Veteran pass rushers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil both didn’t play. They’re both still expected to be back in time for the start of the season. So is second-year receiver Breshad Perriman, who missed all of his rookie season last year with a lingering knee injury.
Next-up: Baltimore will next host the Detroit Lions in Week Three on Aug. 27 at M&T Bank Stadium.