Even though they were playing without some of their star players the Ravens were able to dominate the Washington Redskins 23-0 before 70,723 rabid fans at M&T Bank Stadium Friday night. Joe Flacco moved the offense down the field on both of his series, though the team only came away with two field goals. Backup QB Troy Smith settled down after sailing his first few passes to lead the team to a field goal and a touchdown pass to a streaking Justin Harper, who started off slowly as well. Harper missed his first two receptions but didn't allow it to affect him as he went on to record 4 receptions for 57 yards.
Both Ray Rice and Willis McGahee churned out good yardage running the ball, and McGahee looked better then he has in years slashing through holes and stiff arming defenders. Rookie right tackle Michael Oher was responsible for creating many of those holes as he stayed with his blocks and simply overpowered Redskin defenders. On one play in particular he totally flattened Washington defensive end Renaldo Wynn. Overall it was a good first outing for the teams offense.
And you would have to say it was a great start for the defense as well. Whenever you shut out an opponent in the NFL that says something. Kelly Gregg looked like he was in mid season form as he wreaked havoc on the Redskins offensive linemen. Tavaras Gooden was also very solid running down ball carriers all over the field. Rookie defensive end/ linebacker Paul Kruger looked to be a little over aggressive at first but settled down to shut down the run with his relentless pursuit. He also recorded a sack of Washington quarterback Colt Brennen in the second half.
Perhaps the only bad news of the evening was a knee injury to receiver Marcus Smith during a special teams tackle of running back Marcus Mason. It's feared that it could be an ACL tear, which would put him out for the season. He is scheduled to get an MRI sometime Friday to see the extent of the damage. Here's hoping it isn't as serious as the coaches fear it may be.
For the first pre season game the team played well on both sides of the ball and didn't commit too many penalties, which tends to happen a lot in the pre season. Next up will be a match up with Rex Ryan and his New York Jets. It will be interesting to see just how much improvement Ryan has instilled on the Jets defense and if they may be a play off contender as many are saying.
For video highlights of the game click here.