The Ravens dominated the Jacksonville Jaguars in all facets, rolling to a 48-17 romp in preseason game number three last night at M&T Bank Stadium.
FIVE WHO IMPRESSED
1. Joe Flacco, QB: There is a good chance that Flacco won’t play at all in next week’s finale against the St. Louis Rams so his effort last night could provide a fitting cap to the finest preseason of his career. In completing 27-of-36 passes for 266 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, Flacco was spot on with his accuracy, decision making and timing. He’s been in complete control of the offense since Day One of training camp and appears primed for a huge year.
2. Torrey Smith, WR: Smith supposedly is still hampered by a right ankle sprain, but you wouldn’t know it in watching him abuse the Jaguars secondary. Smith caught eight balls for 103 yards and was targeted 11 times by Flacco. He dropped one catch-able pass but that was his only blemish. His hands and route running have improved significantly and he’s still as fast as ever.
3. Lardarius Webb, CB: The Ravens didn’t give Webb a five-year, $50 million contract extension this offseason just because he’s a good cover guy. Webb is a well-rounded cornerback who pairs sound coverage skills with physical tackling. He was all over the field last night, making a team-high six tackles to go along with a pass defended.
4. Bernard Pollard, S: It doesn’t matter whether it’s a preseason game or a regular-season one, the veteran safety is going to look to hit somebody in the mouth and be as physical as possible. He made his presence known to the Jaguars with three tackles and two passes defended. It bears repeating that he is a perfect fit for the Ravens’ defense.
5. Justin Tucker, K: All eyes were on the undrafted free agent out of Texas who was informed the night before that he’d be handling all the kicking duties while Billy Cundiff remained on the sideline. Tucker again didn’t disappoint, highlighting a perfect night by converting from 33 and 53 yards, and making all six of his extra points. He even chipped in with a special teams tackle. It sure seems that he has the inside track over Cundiff for the kicking job. If that is how it plays out, Tucker will have won the job rather than Cundiff having lost it.
FIVE WHO DISAPPOINTED
- Paul Kruger, LB: The first-year starter was praised in this space last week, but he was unable to carry the momentum into the Jaguars’ game. He struggled to set the edge, missed a few tackles and also committed a holding penalty on a Jaguars’ scoring drive. Not terrible, but far from what the Ravens are going to need out of him.
- Cary Williams, CB: Williams was much better than he was the previous two weeks, though he still had a few problems dealing with Jaguars rookie Justin Blackmon. He was beaten on a 27-yard catch that was Jacksonville’s best offensive play.
- Kick coverage: It was a bad day all around for this unit which allowed a 36-yard-return by Mike Thomas in the first half, and 42 and 47-yard returns by former Ravens’ running back Jalen Parmele in the second half. The coverage team also lost three of its standouts – Sean Considine, Emanuel Cook and Corey Graham – to injuries during the game.
- Billy Cundiff, K: It has to be a tough situation for both Cundiff and Justin Tucker, but Cundiff did little to hide his disappointment to reporters after he wasn’t asked to kick last night. The Ravens and Cundiff seem headed for a breakup. Cundiff is a really good guy but if his responses to questions the past two weeks are any indication, the situation has really worn on him.
- Michael Oher, OT: Perhaps, this is nitpicking but it is, indeed, difficult to find too many people to point fingers at after a 31-point victory that was every bit as lopsided as the score indicated. Oher, who has been plagued by penalties the past couple of seasons, was hit with a false start call in the second quarter after he curiously stood up before Joe Flacco snapped the ball. Oher compounded the penalty by getting beat on the next play, leading to Bernard Pierce getting tackled at the line of scrimmage. Overall though, Oher has had a strong preseason.