Antwan Barnes was eager to see how he would perform against an opponent's starting offense. So were his coaches.

In the Ravens' 17-12 win against the Carolina Panthers Thursday night, the outside linebacker replaced four-time Pro Bowler Terrell Suggs after the defense's first series, and Barnes made his impact felt on Carolina's third drive.

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On back-to-back passing plays in first quarter, Barnes beat left tackle Jordan Gross, forcing him to pull Barnes down. Those moves drew the attention of officials who whistled Gross for holding penalties that negated first downs in Ravens territory.

"They just wanted to see me go out against a first-team O-line, seeing if I can do it," Barnes said. "I'm just out there to prove that I can go against anybody."

Barnes' play wasn't lost on coach John Harbaugh, who said, "I thought Antwan was explosive coming off the edge. He had a couple near-sacks and rushed him [quarterback Matt Moore] out of the pocket a few times. He's done that all camp."

Barnes said he didn't really do anything special against Gross.

"It was just going and doing a move," he said. "I didn't plan on him holding me. I just wanted to beat him. It was good that he held me and I didn't get the sack, but I'd rather get the sack than a hold call."

Barnes made another critical play after the Panthers recovered a Marc Bulger fumble in the second quarter. With Carolina threatening inside the Ravens' 4-yard line, strong safety Haruki Nakamura stripped running back Tyrell Sutton and Barnes pounced on the fumble at the 1.

"It was just good eyes," Barnes said. "When I was running, I thought, 'Did he fumble it?' But the ball on the ground just made me go get it. So I just had to go get it and recover it and help my team out."

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