Preseason Week 2: Ravens 31, Dolphins 7

The Ravens get a win on the road in their second pre-season game.

Another win is in the books for the Ravens but this one that shows there is more work to be done. The offense remains frustratingly hard to judge, with Joe Flacco still injured and an offensive line that is undermanned and constantly changing. The tight end group had a solid night but overall the offense doesn’t look good. Can they improve in the remaining two games? Meanwhile, the defense continues to dominate and is full of depth.

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As always, full reports and analysis can be found elsewhere but here are my five takeaways.

  1. Conditions made this one messy
    The playing surface was slippery and churned up a lot during the game, causing players to lose their footing repeatedly. It’s also possible that the humidity made the ball slippery, leading to plenty of fumbles all round. The Ravens were fortunate enough to recover their fumbles. The Dolphins were not so fortunate.
  2. The offensive line looks horrible
    What a difference a week makes. I was pleasantly surprised by the offensive line last week but against the Dolphins they were mistake-prone and struggled with blocks, especially in the running game. There were several penalties from the O-line, including a pair of holding penalties in the second quarter – one on Howard and the other on Skura – that took the Ravens from 1st and 10 at the Dolphins 21 to 3rd and 26 from the 42.
  3. Allen bounces back
    Javorius Allen had a mediocre first game but showed flashes of talent in this one. He had 10 carries for 40 yards and three catches for 16 yards and was the best running back on the night. Mizzell helped his case once again (10 for 38 yards) but Rainey was again irrelevant and it’s hard to imagine him staying on the roster. West had a very poor showing: six carries for a total of -2 yards.
  4. Woodrum makes the case for a roster spot
    Josh Woodrum looked promising last week and he built on that against the Dolphins. The third-string QB went 8-10 for 110 yards and ran in two TDs. He’s unlikely to displace Mallett, however, because of his lack of experience against quality opposition. Mallett was once again poor – throwing two interceptions that were at least partially his fault – but he made enough plays that I can see the team sticking with him as backup. Given the uncertainty around Flacco, the Ravens will probably need to keep three QBs so Woodrum has a good chance to stick around.
  5. The special teams are special
    It’s easy to take the Ravens special teams for granted but they were particularly good last night. Tucker was 3-for-3 on field goals, including a 52-yarder, and he recovered a fumble on one of his own kickoffs. Elsewhere, the special teams blocked and recovered a punt, while Sam Koch’s one punt of the night was a 61-yard boomer that prevented the Dolphins from gaining a field position advantage.

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