In reality, Thursday's game against the Carolina Panthers was a microcosm of what the summer has been like for the Ravens' offense.
At times, the offense, even with Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, has been crisp, explosive and potent, as it was on its first drive against Carolina.
But for large portions of the summer, the offense looked as it did for most of Thursday, out of sync and devoid of any consistently reliable weapons in the passing game beyond Torrey Smith, although Brandon Stokley does appear to have a chance to make an impact out of the slot and did against the Panthers.
Even without Boldin and Pitta, the Ravens do still have plenty of talent offensively.
They have Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Smith, an up-and-coming young running back in Bernard Pierce, an offensive line that the team seems optimistic about and a weapon at tight end in Ed Dickson when he gets healthy.
But Baltimore's season-opener against the Denver Broncos is less than two weeks away and the problems that have plagued the Ravens' offense throughout the summer flared up once again Thursday night in what was likely the final work Baltimore's offensive starters will get in a game-like situation before that season-opener against the Broncos.
"We have a lot of things to work on," Ravens running back Ray Rice said, later adding, "Obviously, we got things going on that first drive [Thursday]. We proved that we can move the ball down the field. We just can't make costly turnovers. We are going to get that stuff corrected. I'm glad we are able to make our mistakes now and get them corrected for later."
Look, it's still just the preseason, and it's important to remind everyone that the play-calling during the preseason is, to describe it in one word, vanilla.
And this is what the preseason is for: Getting all the kinks out before the regular season.
And it's not like it's just the Ravens are the only team struggling offensively at this point of the summer.
Look at the New England Patriots' offense.
Most likely, at least based on what the Patriots' offense looks like on paper, the offense is going to once again rank among the best in the NFL.
But against the Detroit Lions Thursday, New England's first-team offense was on the field for nine possessions, and the Patriots had more turnovers (four) than points (three) by the time they subbed in their second-team offense to begin the second half.
"It's just the preseason, and you have to figure in that there are going to be some bumps in the road," former St. Louis Rams vice president of player personnel Tony Softli said during a phone interview. "You'd like to see clean play. You'd like to see no turnovers, no penalties, no mental errors, no mistakes, but that's not reality."
But that's not to say the struggles of Baltimore's offense this summer should just be written off.
There still isn't a clear starting-caliber receiver on the team aside from Smith. And whether it's been because of a lack of capable pass-catchers besides Smith or not, Flacco's play has been underwhelming during the preseason and at different points during the summer.
His completion percentage during the preseason isn't bad (76 percent), but he's thrown just three touchdowns to go along with four interceptions.
Through the first half Thursday, he had completed 13 of his 19 pass attempts, but he didn't have a touchdown and had thrown two interceptions, including one that was returned 71 yards for a touchdown.
But it's not just Flacco. The offensive line struggled some Thursday night and gave up eight tackles for a loss and three sacks, and the production of the running game has been below average during the preseason.
Actually, prior to scoring on the last two possessions it was in the game for Thursday, Baltimore's first-team offense had scored points on just two of its first 12 possessions to begin the preseason.
Yes, it's still the preseason. And yes, the Ravens looks to have the talent to turn things around come the regular season. But the regular season-opener against Denver is less than two weeks away, and Baltimore's offense appears to still be very much a work in progress.

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