The starters played for most of the first half for both teams, and the Ravens managed to overcome a 23-7 deficit to win the game.
Here are some Ravens observations from Thursday's game:
- The Ravens' wide receiver situation is still a work in progress, and odds are it won't be fully solved by the beginning of the regular season. Torrey Smith's 77-yard touchdown reception was the lone bright spot for the first- and second-team wide receivers, as Jacoby Jones and Tandon Doss were the only others to record a catch from that group. Rookie Aaron Mellette caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Tyrod Taylor with a defender draped over him, but that rounded out the night for the Ravens' receivers. With Deonte Thompson out with an injury, players such as Brandon Stokley, Doss and even Tommy Streeter had a chance to step up. Stokley played sparingly, and Streeter looks like he's officially done in the competition for a roster spot.
- While the Ravens' wide receivers were bad, the tight ends might have been worse. With Ed Dickson sidelined with a hamstring injury, Visanthe Shiancoe got the start. Shocker: drops were a theme yet again for Shiancoe, as he failed to record a catch. Billy Bajema caught one pass from Flacco for 18 yards and rookie Matt Furstenburg also caught two passes. It'll be interesting to see if the Ravens realize Shiancoe isn't a capable tight end, prompting them to give Furstenburg and Bajema first-team reps next week against the Carolina Panthers.
- The rookie defenders had a pretty successful night for the Ravens. Safety Matt Elam saw more playing time with the first-team defense, while linebacker Arthur Brown flashed his impressive instincts that should make him the best rookie from Baltimore's 2013 draft class. Defensive tackle Brandon Williams played for most of the second half, as did outside linebacker John Simon, who notched his first sack of the preseason as a result of an impressive spin move. Seventh-round pick Marc Anthony rebounded from a disappointing first preseason game by holding his own in the Ravens secondary.
- The Ravens' first-team offense failed to get anything going outside of Smith's long touchdown mainly due to the porous play of the offensive line. Jah Reid started at right guard in place of Marshal Yanda -- who did not suit up -- while A.Q. Shipley started at center over Gino Gradkowski. That led to an embarrassing night for the right side of the offensive line, as Shipley, Reid and Michael Oher all struggled. Shipley finally got his chance to prove himself as a starting center, although after his poor performance on Thursday night, it looks like it will be tough for him to push Gradkowski for the job.
- The top performer for the Ravens was arguably cornerback Asa Jackson. While he is suspended for the first eight games of the regular season due to a failed drug test, he is still playing in the Ravens' preseason games, and he made the most of his opportunity against Atlanta. Jackson led the team in tackles with seven, and also had a game-winning 78-yard punt return for a touchdown.
- Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor had an up-and-down night, however, he did manage to orchestrate two touchdown drives to lead the Ravens to the win. He completed 5-of-9 passes, but he did throw a poor interception in the red zone in which he simply under-threw wide receiver LaQuan Williams. He didn't look as good as he did in Week 1 of the preseason, but his progression is something to keep an eye on in the final two preseason games.
- The Ravens may have a free-agent steal on their hands in veteran linebacker Daryl Smith. He was the most impressive defender on the field last week, and was the Ravens' main enforcer of the first-team defense against the Falcons. He finished with five tackles, with his most notable play being the disruption of a screen play that Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was about to execute. Smith appears as if he is primed to lead the team in tackles this season if he can stay healthy.
Kyle Casey is a sportswriter living in Baltimore, Md. He contributes to various football sites and is the editor of Cat Crave.
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