The Falcons opened the game with their starting offensive line, so it was hardly surprising that they pushed the Ravens around on the first drive. But boy, did they push them around, scoring in nine plays (above).
Linemen Christo Bilukidi and Kapron Lewis-Moore, likely fighting for the same roster spot, could not hold the middle as the Falcons rushed for 62 yards on seven carries. Rookie Za’Darius Smith continued his underwhelming preseason, failing to generate much push from the edge. The reserves tackled poorly, as they have throughout four preseason games.
The Ravens are used to fielding deep defenses and expected to enter this season with another one. Instead, we’ve watched a succession of unremarkable quarterbacks trample the reserves.
That said, the backups delivered some nice individual moments as the game rolled on.
Linebacker Arthur Brown, looking to shine after two deeply disappointing seasons, made a sharp hit in the second quarter, forcing a fumble that eventually was reversed by a suspect review. He also darted in to record a tackle for loss in the fourth quarter.
Lewis-Moore, coming off two lost seasons, burst into the backfield to make a tackle for loss in the red zone. That could be a difference maker in his position battle with Bilukidi, who also had his moments Thursday, and DeAngelo Tyson.
Veteran cornerback Cassius Vaughn played well in coverage and on special teams. Safety Terrence Brooks, finally healthy, streaked off the edge for a sack against Atlanta’s two-minute offense. Rookie defensive tackle Carl Davis continued to look like the one real gem on the second team.