At First Glance: Ravens At Falcons writers give their first impressions of the Ravens’ 31-17 win.

Posted by on Thursday, August 9th, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Categories: 2012 Preseaon, Garrett Downing, Ryan Mink, Sarah Ellison

John Eisenberg: When the starters for both teams were on the field, the Falcons had the better of it by far. Matt Ryan picked apart the Ravens’ secondary on a pair of long scoring drives, and the Ravens’ offense sputtered in the no-huddle, opening with three straight three-and-outs. Joe Flacco and the offense finally awoke and produced a touchdown before reserves took over. You don’t need a comment from me when Ravens Coach John Harbaugh’s terse halftime interview said it all. “I’m not happy with any of it,” he told WBAL.

Ryan Mink: The bad news is the first-teamers on offense, defense or special teams were badly beaten. The good news is we’re still in the preseason. The Ravens won the game, but will likely leave the Georgia Dome feeling bummed. The most surprising thing was watching a secondary that has been justifiably touted as one of the best in the NFL get carved up. Atlanta has a good passing game with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White – but still. The offense interestingly ran the no-huddle, but it didn’t go well for a while. The best offensive performance probably came from rookie free agent Bobby Rainey and the third-string offense. That’s good for Rainey, but the Ravens probably would have rather seen their first-teamers shine.

Garrett Downing: The preseason certainly didn’t start the way the Ravens had hoped. The first-team offense struggled to do much of anything against Atlanta’s starting defense, as it took Joe Flacco and company four series to get a first down. Flacco had defenders in his face throughout the first quarter because the offensive line struggled to fend off the Falcons’ pass rush. Shoring up that offensive line will be a key focus in the coming weeks. Defensively, the play of the secondary was concerning. Matt Ryan was able to move the ball through the air and Julio Jones finished with 106 receiving yards and a touchdown. The Ravens will leave this game with plenty to improve on both sides of the ball, as Head Coach John Harbaugh said at halftime, “I’m not happy with any of it.”

Sarah Ellison: The Ravens didn’t do anything to ease one of the biggest concerns heading into the season – the offensive line. Quarterback Joe Flacco was frequently on the run, getting sacked twice, and there weren’t many running lanes for Ray Rice. The first-team units struggled in all three phases of the game, with Atlanta outgaining Baltimore 191 yards to 9 in the first quarter. The good news is there’s still plenty of time to get the o-line settled as veterans Matt Birk and Bryant McKinnie didn’t get the start. The starting offense ended on a good note, finishing its night on a 77-yard touchdown drive. On defense, Falcons receiver Julio Jones abused what is considered one of the team’s strongest units – the secondary. Cary Williams, who had hip surgery in the offseason, struggled early and will need to do more if he wants to prevent Jimmy Smith from taking over his starting job.

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