With the exception of four plays on their first offensive series, the Ravens were nearly perfect on offense in Charlotte taking a 14-3 lead against the Panthers tonight. They had touchdown drives of 80 and 90 yards, dominated the line of scrimmage and kept Carolina on its heels throughout the half.
Joe Flacco threw for nearly 200 yards in the half, including a 9-yard touchdown strike to Todd Heap. Wide receiver Kelley Washington seemed to have won a starting job with two catches in the half, including a deep ball on the second series that led to the Heap TD.
Right guard Marshal Yanda not only played the entire half, but looked good doing it. The Ravens ran right often behind Yanda and rookie Michael Oher, who committed the cardinal rookie sin of a false start inside the 1-yard line.
That mistake was followed by a delay of game penalty, a sack and two plays later, a missed 27-yard field goal try to Steve Hauschka.
Derrick Mason was superb, as was Ray Rice as Flacco went to the checkdown often. The Ravens inserted Willis McGahee at running back on the third drive and he covered the final five yards of a 90-yard march on three carries.
The Ravens had a chance to execute their two-minute offense at the end of the half, and punched out two first downs before stalling at their own 45.
On defense, the Ravens looked vulnerable to big plays in the pass and run early, but settled down and didn't let Carolina threaten after an second-series field goal. The Panthers were 0-for-4 on third downs.
Particularly impressive was defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who got a sack and ran down fleet receiver Steve Smith on a 26-yard gain in the second quarter.