C.J. Mosley, Alfred Morris, Daryl Smith

Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, right, slips past Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Washington NFL team, 23-17, in a preseason matchup at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

Week three of the preseason is widely considered the final dress rehearsal for starters during the preseason, as most teams in the league play their starters for nearly an entire half. The week is often the last chance starters get to play live reps during the preseason, as most coaching staffs choose not to risk them during the fourth and final week of the preseason.

Joe Flacco

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, left, prepares to throw to a receiver. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

Both Washington and Baltimore’s starters played the entire first half Saturday, and Washington even left their starters on the field for a short period after halftime. But it was the Ravens starters who were more impressive, and who took a 13-3 lead into halftime.

Steve Smith

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith throws the ball into the stands after scoring a touchdown. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Ravens seventh-year quarterback Joe Flacco looked good running in new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak’s offense, completing 16-of-23 passes for 180 yards and committing turnovers. His final pass of the game was a beautiful 24-yard touchdown pass to veteran receiver Steve Smith Sr. that gave Baltimore a13-3 lead just before halftime arrived. Smith Sr. led the Ravens with six catches for 80 yards, while fullback Kyle Juszczyk had five catches for 53 yards.

Robert Griffin III, Brandon Williams

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, (10) throws to a receiver as he is pressured by Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

By comparison, Washington’s third-year quarterback Robert Griffin III struggled, completing just five of eight passes for only 20 yards. He was sacked three times, two of which were his fault for trying to scramble for extra yards, and he also tossed an interception on his last pass attempt before being benched. Ravens’ rookie linebacker C.J. Mosley made the pick on Griffin.

Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker gestures after a successful field goal attempt. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

Washington backup quarterback Kirk Cousins, on the other hand, hada very impressive performance. Cousins completed 14 of 20 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns.  He hooked up with veteran receiver Santana Moss on an 11-yard touchdown in the third quarter and also found tight end Niles Paul foran eight-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker was the only starter to play the entire game; he converted all three field goal attempts, including a 46-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter that pushed the game out of reach for Washington.

Next up: Baltimore will play its final preseason game on Aug. 28, a road matchup with the Saints in New Orleans. Washington will travel to Tampa Bay the same day to take on the Buccaneers in their preseason finale.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor