It's just the preseason, but after a 5-11 campaign last year, the Ravens will gladly take a perfect preseason record heading into the 2016 regular season.
The Ravens beat the Saints, 23-14, in New Orleans to cap a 4-0 preseason slate.
Baltimore rested nearly all of its starters on offense and defense while the Saints trotted out starting quarterback Drew Brees and most of their starters on both sides of the ball.
The Ravens take on the Saints in week 4 of the 2016 preseason.
The Ravens trailed, 6-0, at the end of the first quarter, but the second- and third-team units once again dominated the men opposite them.
The biggest story of the night – the NFL debut of wide receiver Breshad Perriman – was another positive. Perriman caught two passes for 25 yards on the first two plays of the game and was pulled in good health by halftime.
Undrafted rookie bubble players, defensive tackle Michael Pierce and outside linebacker Victor Ochi, both made impact plays, making their case for spots on the 53-man roster. The Ravens will now go to work trimming their roster to 53 by 4 p.m. on Saturday.
- Pierce manhandled Saints offensive lineman Marcus Henry and blew up quarterback Luke McCown. Not only did he get the sack, but he also forced a fumble and corralled it in the end zone. The sacks/strip/touchdown recovery is quite a rare play and exactly what makes an undrafted rookie stand out. The touchdown gave the Ravens a 13-6 lead in the second quarter.
- The Ravens attempted two long bombs to rookie fourth-round pick Chris Moore. Both fell incomplete, as he got his hands on one but it was knocked away and the other was thrown too deep. Baltimore clearly wants to get their big-play threat some chances.
- Ochi once again made his impact felt, coming off the edge to get a sack/strip in the third quarter and help halt a mounting Saints drive around midfield.
- Third-string quarterback Josh Johnson juked a Saints defender and scrambled into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown on third down, giving the Ravens a 23-6 lead midway through the fourth quarter. Johnson finished the game 18-for-24 for 181 yards. He added 21 yards on the ground.
- The Ravens defense put up a goal-line stand in the final three minutes of the game, but rookie defensive tackle Willie Henry was flagged for roughing the passer, giving the Saints a free first down. They punched it into the end zone on the next play.
DT Michael Pierce
The undrafted rookie's sacks/strip/touchdown recovery broke the game open. Pierce also notched another sack in the fourth quarter, but it was called back due to a defensive holding penalty. Pierce has been impressive in practice and the preseason, and could earn a spot on the 53-man roster, especially if the ankle injury defensive tackle Carl Davis suffered Thursday night is serious. Head Coach John Harbaugh only said after the game that the injury is not season ending.
On The Horizon
The Ravens will open the regular season at M&T Bank Stadium against the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 11.