It was the Los Angeles Rams who fell victim to the helmet rule Thursday night as both defensive back Marqui Christian and cornerback Blake Countess were tagged with back-to-back penalties in the first quarter, handing the Ravens 15 yards apiece.
The offense took advantage of the penalties by Christian and Countess, an Owings Mills native, with a 29-yard field goal by kicker Justin Tucker for a 17-0 lead that improved to 23-0 by halftime at M&T Bank Stadium. Officials had pinned three penalties involving illegal use of the helmet on the Ravens during last week’s 17-16 win over the Chicago Bears in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.
Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale has tried to keep his players abreast of the rule change, however, citing his intentions at Tuesday’s practice.
“We’ve always taught, when we teach tackling, ‘Keep your eyes up.’ I don’t think there’s been an adjustment to it, no,” he said. “I guess I should say this: What the adjustment is, is you’re really conscious now as the coach – whether it’s a position coach, myself or [head coach John Harbaugh], to ‘Keep your eyes up, keep your eyes up.’ If a guy starts to drop his head, ‘You’ve got to get your head out of there, you’ve got to get your head out of there.’ ”
Rushing lead again for Edwards
With 51 yards on nine carries by halftime, rookie running back Gus Edwards appeared well on his way to leading the team in rushing again for the second consecutive game.
The undrafted free agent out of Rutgers had finished last week’s victory over Chicago with a team-high 35 yards on 10 attempts and had caught one ball for 23 yards. Although he had not caught a pass in the first half against the Rams, Edwards had said recently that he felt confident that he had proven to offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and running backs coach Thomas Hammock that he could contribute in the running and passing attacks.
“I’ve just got to continue to show them that and be consistent with it,” he said. “I think I did well, but I have a lot to improve on. Coach [Hammock] and me went over that, and I’ve just got to work on those things.”
Cornerback Maurice Canady’s interception of Rams quarterback Sean Mannion’s pass in the second quarter was the Ravens’ third of the preseason. … The Ravens played without guards Marshal Yanda (right shoulder), Maurquice Shakir and Randin Crecelius, safeties Tony Jefferson (hamstring pull) and Bennett Jackson, outside linebacker Tyus Bowser, wide receiver Tim White and tight end Maxx Williams. … Cornerback Jimmy Smith played for the first time since tearing his left Achilles tendon Dec. 3. Rookie tight end Mark Andrews made his NFL debut after sitting out last week because of a muscle tissue injury. … Wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo (upper leg muscle), linebacker Bam Bradley (ACL) and cornerback Jaylen Hill (right ACL, MCL) are still on the physically unable to perform list. … Former Ravens free safety Ed Reed attended the game. … An under-15 football team from Italy participated in a flag football game at halftime. The Skorpions, who are reportedly the country’s U15 Flag Football champions and self-funded the trip, consisted of 14 players who arrived in the United States on Aug. 2 with four adult chaperones. Before a game last season, defensive tackle Brandon Williams and cornerback Marlon Humphrey sent the team videos wishing the players good luck. … Wide receiver Michael Crabtree, quarterback Joe Flacco and free safety Eric Weddle represented the Ravens for the coin toss.
Baltimore Sun reporter Edward Lee contributed to this article.