TAMPA, FLA. — The Ravens survived an emergency situation at left guard when starter Kelechi Osemele was ruled out shortly before kickoff after testing out his bruised, hyperextended right knee during warmups.
Osemele looked immobile while trying to do drills in the end zone, noticeably favoring his knee and unable to plant and change direction enough to convince the coaching staff and trainers to play him.
So, the Ravens started rookie fifth-round draft pick John Urschel in place of Osemele after initially announcing that backup center Gino Gradkowski would start at left guard.
"I feel like I did well, I feel like I had a solid performance," said Urschel, who learned roughly two hours before kickoff that he would be active and start his first NFL game. "There are obviously things that I need to improve upon. I'd say better fundamentals in certain things. Once you get on the field, it's very fast-paced, high-tempo. You just need to have that as muscle memory."
Urschel and rookie tackle James Hurst held their own on the left side while blocking All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy. Quarterback Joe Flacco wasn't sacked and the Ravens rushed for 169 yards and a touchdown.
"We had all week in practice to prepare for the worst-case scenario," center Jeremy Zuttah said. "John did a good job preparing himself. It's not an easy thing when you make your first start against Gerald McCoy. I think he did an outstanding job."