The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Carolina Panthers on Saturday, August 22 in Charlotte, North Carolina by a score of 20-3.
The Ravens extended their preseason winning streak to 19 games, tied for an NFL all-time record, on the back of their defense, which held the Panthers to just 18 total yards in the second half.
“It’s something only one other team has done, the Vince Lombardi Green Bay Packers. I’d say that’s notable,” head coach John Harbaugh told the media after the game.
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As they approach the regular season, the Ravens got a good look at a handful of players competing for starting jobs, playing time and roster spots on both sides of the ball. Here are some takeaways from Saturday’s game against the Panthers.
Ravens’ Defense Continues to Impress
The stout Baltimore defense had a strong performance for a second consecutive week after forcing six turnovers against the New Orleans Saints on August 14.
Even without several key veterans, the Ravens defense suffocated the Panthers’ offense with a goal-line stand in the first quarter that set the tone for the rest of the game.
A number of defensive backs competing for a roster spot stood out on Saturday.
Nigel Warrior made a number of open-field tackles and showed his coverage ability as well. Chris Westry was beat by 2021 second-rounder Terrace Marshall Jr. on a deep ball, but otherwise continued his strong preseason. Undrafted free agent Ar’Darius Washington narrowly missed an interception, which would have been his second takeaway in as many games after he forced a fumble last week against the Saints.
The Ravens’ outside linebackers had a strong game, with Jaylon Ferguson and Daelin Hayes leading the group in Carolina. Ferguson, who could be on the roster bubble after the signing of veteran Justin Houston, set the edge against the run and worked hard to pressure the quarterback. Hayes, a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft, showed off his bend and pass rush moves to beat opposing tackles and force multiple early, errant throws from the Panthers’ quarterbacks. The Notre Dame product was also solid against the run.
Ravens Still Looking for Breakout Receiver
The passing offense was stagnant on Saturday, failing to reach 200 yards through the air for the second week in a row. Backup quarterback Tyler Huntley played the entire game, with 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson yet to play this preseason.
The Ravens were also without several of their top receiving options, including Sammy Watkins, Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman and Miles Boykin. The team has been hoping that one of their young wideouts would step up in the preseason, but they’ve yet to have a standout game from any of them.
Devin Duvernay only caught one ball after a promising performance last week, and fellow 2020 draft pick James Proche struggled to translate his highly-praised training camp into in-game production, though he was the Ravens’ primary punt returner.
2020 fourth-round pick Tylan Wallace had an impressive catch-and-run, but failed to make a larger impact on the game.
Tight end Josh Oliver could be in line for more opportunities after recording 11 catches for 78 yards in the last two weeks. Though the former third-round pick lost a fumble on Saturday, he still showed off his ferocity after the catch and run-blocking prowess that should earn him a roster spot as the team’s third tight end.
Starting Guard Spot Still up for Grabs
The Ravens have clear starters at four of the five offensive line positions, with left guard the only remaining question mark. 2019 fourth-rounder Ben Powers played the first half while Foster Sarell, an undrafted free agent out of Stanford, played the second half. Second-year lineman Tyre Phillips, who is also in competition for the job, sat out the game after tweaking his ankle during practice on Thursday. He was joined on the sideline by rookie Ben Cleveland, who is working his way back to full health after a concussion last week.
Phillips and Powers are widely seen as the favorites to start at left guard in the regular season.
Harbaugh said Phillips’ injury was not serious, so the Mississippi State product is still firmly in contention for the job after a strong showing against the Saints last week. Powers was solid if unspectacular on Saturday, but his relative health and experience (seven starts in 2020) could earn him the starting spot. Sarell was up and down, clearing the path for a Nate McCrary touchdown run in the third quarter, but got overpowered by a Panthers’ lineman on another play. Cleveland came out of the University of Georgia with a lot of hype for his size and power, but missing the Ravens’ first two preseason games will hurt his chances of starting at the beginning of the regular season.