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Jaguars vs. Ravens Recap

Posted Aug 23, 2012

Dominant Showing For Ravens Starters

If this was the final preseason look at the Ravens' starters, as expected, it was definitely a good one.

Quarterback Joe Flacco and Baltimore's first-string offense sliced through the Jacksonville Jaguars with relative ease.

The defense had its best showing of the preseason, allowing just three points by the time the starters left more than halfway through the third quarter.

Added up, it was a dominant 48-17 win for the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium in the third, and arguably most important, preseason game.

Baltimore's 48 points are the most in franchise preseason history, topping a 38-point effort in 2001.

With that, the Ravens starters will go into the regular-season opener on Sept. 10 on a high note.

"I think it's definitely big for us. It's kind of, I guess, our final tune-up game, and we did alright," wide receiver Torrey Smith said. "We definitely can't be disappointed."

The Ravens (2-1) came into this preseason game with the theme of finishing in the red zone. It was a focus all week in practice.

Last week, the starting offense played well but left with just three points to show for it. The defense couldn't get off the field on third down.

The offense fizzled on its first two drives of the night against Jacksonville, but turned things around and ended with back-to-back touchdown drives.

"We finished things this game," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "That's one thing we've been striving for. … We finished catches. We finished runs. We finished blocks."

Quarterback Joe Flacco was the sharpest he's been this preseason, which is saying a lot considering he's been good throughout.

He completed 27 of his 36 passes for 266 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on a Hail Mary to end the first half. Flacco left after one drive in the second half with a 102.3 quarterback rating.

Flacco completed passes to nine different receivers and hit wide receiver Anquan Boldin for a 5-yard touchdown and fullback Vonta Leach on an 8-yarder.

Smith was Flacco's main target, as the second-year speedster caught eight passes for 103 yards despite limping off the field at one point due to a lingering ankle injury.

Flacco slung it on 36 of the Ravens' 46 plays, and again directed the new-look, up-tempo Ravens offense.

The performance highlights how far Flacco, and the offense as a whole, has come since last season. During Monday Night Football in Jacksonville last year, Flacco went 21-for-38 for 137 yards in perhaps his worst performance.

"I think we're really working towards that consistency," Flacco said. "We can build that confidence. If we're consistent every week we'll build more confidence, more confidence. If we're fortunate enough to play really well and make the playoffs, we'll hit the playoffs going full speed and not dying off."

The Ravens' starting defense contained the Jaguars offense, which is without the NFL's leading rusher, Maurice Jones-Drew.

Jaguars first-round rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon became the third wide receiver in as many games to have a strong showing against the Baltimore secondary, putting up four catches for 72 yards.

But he was the only one shining for Jacksonville. Second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert (who sparkled in his first two preseason games) was held to just 117 yards and 11 completions on 21 attempts.

Jacksonville drove into the Ravens' red zone near the end of the first half, yet had to settle for a field goal. The Jags did the same on their second drive of the second half, yet came away with nothing when kicker Josh Scobee's field goal was blocked by defensive end Pernell McPhee.

Cornerback Lardarius Webb, who led the team with six tackles, said the Ravens had a long, great week of practice after two subpar showings in the first two preseason games. Thursday night's effort was a measure of retribution.

"We want to be dominant," Webb said. "When we handle our business and [the offense] handles their business, you see what the score's going to look like."

The second-team offense didn't slow up either as the Ravens poured it on.

In his first series, Tyrod Taylor orchestrated a touchdown drive capped by an 8-yard completion to LaQuan Williams. He ran it into the end zone from 5 yards out on his second drive.

Rookie free agent running back Bobby Rainey scored a 48-yard touchdown and sixth-round rookie wide receiver Tommy Streeter took a 33-yard pass to the end zone in the fourth quarter.

If there was any more proof needed of how the offense fired on all cylinders, the Ravens had five touchdown drives of 80 yards or more.

It was that kind of night in Baltimore.

"We wore the defense out," Flacco said.

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