We'll have analysis and reaction from the Ravens' 31-17 preseason-opening victory last night over the Atlanta Falcons throughout the day. But first, here are some quick hits from the game, starting with the injury report.
The two biggest injury concerns coming out of the night are starting tight end Ed Dickson and reserve defensive tackle Ryan McBean. Dickson will have a magnetic resonance imaging performed today, but Ravens coach John Harbaugh said that the team is "pretty certain it's just a sprain." Still, Harbaugh acknowledged the injury will likely sideline Dickson for a couple of weeks. With Dennis Pitta already dealing with a broken right hand that is expected to keep him out for the rest of the preseason, you'd have to think that the Ravens will audition some tight ends at the Under Armour Performance Center either over the weekend or next week.
As for McBean, he will also have more tests performed today, but Harbaugh said that the initial fear is the former Bronco may have broken his left ankle. That's a tough development for McBean, who was already facing a three-game suspension to start the season for allegedly violating the NFL's ban on performance-enhancing drugs.
The other injuries from the game appear to be relatively minor. Harbaugh said that second-year wide receiver Torrey Smith has a right ankle sprain though Smith laughed it off and said that he doesn't expect to miss any time. "I didn't even know it was that," said Smith when informed of the diagnosis. "They just made me put ice on it. I'm all right." Quarterback Tyrod Taylor and cornerbacks Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson had their hamstrings grab on them, and wide receiver Logan Payne sustained a hip contusion.
Harbaugh was buoyed by the play of some of the reserves fighting for jobs as the Ravens erased a 17-7 halftime deficit by scoring the game's last 24 points, but he did express some disappointment in the poor beginning from his starters. "We had some good things and we had some not so good things obviously," Harbaugh said. "The first quarter was not so good. We couldn't really get a first down. We had some completions but we couldn't get anybody free to catch-and-run a little bit. ... And [Matt Ryan] took them right down the field against us which was disappointing – run and pass."
The secondary was torched by Julio Jones and Roddy White who combined for nine catches for 155 yards and a touchdown in little more than a quarter. The offensive line, which included two rookie starters, allowed quarterback Joe Flacco to get drilled a couple of times, and the defensive line got little to no pressure on Ryan. Harbaugh sounded least concerned about the secondary, saying that guys were in position to make plays and it just didn't happen. He did acknowledge that some of the blitzes that the offensive line didn't pick up "weren't that complicated."
It was a huge day for an undrafted free agent rookie class that Harbaugh is really excited about. Running back Bobby Rainey, who played his high school ball in Georgia, rushed 12 times for 36 yards, caught three balls for 28 yards and a touchdown, returned six punts for 50 yards and one kickoff for 26 yards. "He's a football player," Harbaugh said of the former Western Kentucky standout. "He did the same things in the game today as he has done in practice. And that's what you want to see. You want to see guys carry it over.
Wide receiver Deonte Thompson (Florida) also carried over his success from practice, catching three balls for 53 yards and a touchdown. His 22-yard touchdown, off a Curtis Painter third-quarter pass, gave the Ravens the lead for good.
On defense, Omar Brown (Marshall) was responsible for three turnovers, intercepting one pass and registering two fumble recoveries in his first NFL game. "This to me is still a dream that I'm trying to make come true," Brown said. "I don't want to just make this an experience and be one of the last cuts. I still want to be on this team. I'm having a great time out there."
Because we can't go a day without hyping the kicking competition, it was a relatively quiet and uneventful day for both Billy Cundiff and Justin Tucker. Cundiff made his extra point and Tucker converted a 36-yard field goal and was 3-for-3 on extra points.
And finally, left tackle Bryant McKinnie, who showed up to training camp late with a back injury, didn't start but he played a lot. McKinnie held up fine and said that the work was much needed. Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring) dressed, but I didn't ever notice him get on the field. The Ravens announced that safety Ed Reed wasn't going to play, but there old No. 20 was, out on the field, fooling everybody once again. Reed played one series before calling it a night. His long-time teammate, linebacker Ray Lewis, didn't appear to be on the trip or at least, I was unable to spot him on the sideline, and I certainly didn't see him in the locker room after the game.