The Baltimore Ravens won its first game of the 2016 NFL preseason, beating the Carolina Panthers, 22-19, on Aug. 11 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md.

The exhibition-style game was meaningless in terms of the teams’ regular season records as most of the starters played very limited time. But there were still some good things to take away for fans from both teams. Here are some of the noteworthy takeaways:

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) sits on the bench during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Carolina Panthers, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) sits on the bench during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Carolina Panthers, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

No Action for Joe Flacco
Ravens star quarterback Joe Flacco did not play despite his full recovery from last year’s season-ending knee injury. Flacco has practiced with his teammates throughout the entire training camp this summer, but head coach John Harbaugh decided not to play him Thursday night. Perhaps Harbaugh just doesn’t want to rush Flacco back into real contact action just yet. Or maybe Harbaugh simply decided to sit Flacco since most of his fellow offensive starters, including receiver Steve Smith Sr., tight end Dennis Pitta, and running back Justin Forsett, were all sitting out of this game.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) throws under pressure from Baltimore Ravens linebacker Zach Orr (54) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) throws under pressure from Baltimore Ravens linebacker Zach Orr (54) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Cam Newton Still in MVP Form
While Flacco may have decided to take it easy, Carolina still played it star quarterback Cam Newton and he quickly reminded viewers why he won NFL MVP last season. Newton only played the first offensive series for the Panthers before he took to the bench for the rest of the game, but he looked sharp during his brief moment on the field. He completed five of six pass attempts for 36 yards and easily marched the Panthers down the field into the red zone. Cam, however, fell just short of getting his unit into the end zone so they had to settle for a field goal.

Ravens Pause Game to Watch Michael Phelps
The Ravens have always been huge supporters of Baltimore native Michael Phelps and that didn’t change Thursday as they literally paused action in the middle of the game to watch the most accomplished Olympian ever swim in the 200-meter individual medley via the jumbotron. Phelps would win his 22nd gold medal in the event, sending the stadium crowd and players, alike, into euphoric cheers.

Baltimore Ravens running back Terrance West (28) jumps up and over the line for touchdown with Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kyle Love (93) and others defending during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Baltimore Ravens running back Terrance West (28) jumps up and over the line for touchdown with Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Kyle Love (93) and others defending during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

More Game Notes
-Former Towson University star running back Terrance West continued his impressive streak this summer with a solid performance in the preseason opener. West had 25 rushing yards and two touchdowns in limited action. Rookie running back Kenneth Dixon also ran well with a game-high 44 yards on nine carries.

– On defense, rookie end Matt Judon led the way with seven tackles, five made solo, including a sack.

– Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Ravens defense is that despite allowing Cam Newton to drive the field easily during the opening series, the starting unit bent but didn’t break and kept him from scoring a touchdown.

Next: Baltimore will travel to Indianapolis to face the Colts in Week Two of the preseason on Aug. 20.

 

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor