At First Glance: Lions vs. Ravens writers give their first impressions of the Ravens’ 27-12 loss.

Posted by on Friday, August 17th, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Categories: 2012 Preseaon, At First Glance, Garrett Downing, Ryan Mink, Sarah Ellison

Ryan Mink: This was kind of the opposite of last week. It was a loss, but the first-team offense performed well and the defense did too until some of the key figures left the field. The Ravens stuck with the no-huddle, hurry-up attack, and this time you saw how it can pay off. Baltimore marched down the field, but just couldn’t stick it in the end zone. I still don’t like the big gains given up defensively, especially considering the Ravens will face similarly explosive passing attacks in the regular season. But I’ll take a good first-team performance over a come-from-behind win by the third-stringers any day.

Garrett Downing: This was a better showing for the Ravens, especially the offense. Joe Flacco looked in command and moved the offense down the field. They need to clean up the mistakes and score touchdowns on some of those drives where they get in the red zone, but overall the group showed improvement in the no-huddle offense. Defensively, the secondary struggled with stopping Calvin Johnson once safeties Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard came off the field. Johnson is arguably the best receiver in the NFL, but the cornerbacks have had a tough time stopping the pass in consecutive weeks. And finally, the kicking battle between Justin Tucker and Billy Cundiff continues to stay interesting as they were both perfect on Friday night. That is a competition that could come all the way down to the wire.

Sarah Ellison: That’s what a successful up-tempo, no-huddle offense is supposed to look like. What a difference from last week. The starters didn’t come up with a touchdown because of a few mistakes in the red zone, but they moved the ball between the 20s and Joe Flacco looked in command at the line of scrimmage. The fast pace was taxing on the Detroit defense and factored into two Lions offsides penalties in the first quarter. Just imagine it with Torrey Smith, Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson in the lineup. Unlike the offense, the secondary’s performance was not an improvement from the Atlanta game. The unit struggled with Julio Jones last week and wanted redemption against Calvin Johnson, but didn’t get it. “Megatron” finished with 111 yards and a touchdown on five receptions. Fans finally got to see running back Bernard Pierce in action for the first time and he looked impressive, showing explosiveness with some (correctable) rookie mistakes. Rookies Deonte Thompson and Asa Jackson had special moments to savor even though their touchdowns were brought back. Others who stood out: Matt Birk, Paul Kruger, LaQuan Williams, Omar Brown (again). Room for improvement: Jimmy Smith, Cary Williams, Courtney Upshaw, Nigel Carr and Tyrod Taylor (throwing, not rushing).

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