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The Ravens wanted to test out their no-huddle offense in Saturday's preseason matchup with the New York Giants, and by all accounts, the plan passed with flying colors.
Shaking off a three-and-out to start the game, the Ravens racked up 17 points before the Giants coughed up a measly field goal.
With Baltimore's starters solely running the no-huddle, the G-Men were on their heels from the beginning and the Ravens were able to protect quarterback Joe Flacco without their top two right tackles available
"We're pretty well-conditioned," said Flacco, who completed 21 of 34 attempts for 229 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. "The [opposing] defense has got to stay out there on the field, and they are probably sucking wind a little bit more than we are.
"It just takes away the pass rush, and our offensive line did a great job on those guys, really creating some time so I could wait for some other routes to develop downfield."
As the 24-10 Ravens win demonstrated, mission accomplished.
With Flacco calling the shots on the go, the Giants never had an opportunity to substitute on defense, which helped dull the tenacity of their pass rush.
The Ravens could simply play at their own pace, as long as Flacco was on the same page with his receivers.
"We wanted to emphasize throwing the ball, getting into a rhythm and being in a fast tempo – getting up to the line of scrimmage, getting plays called," said wideout Anquan Boldin. " Really, not letting the defense get settled in."
Calmly surveying the field while standing tall in the pocket, Flacco completed passes of 22, 21 and 20 yards to Boldin, tight end Todd Heap and wideout Mark Clayton, respectively.
The Giants' three sacks came at times when their defenders had fresh legs, nullyfiyng the effects of a no-huddle approach.
Giants defensive end Justin Tuck dropped Flacco on the second play of the game. Defensive tackle Rocky Bernard notched a sack on the first play of the Ravens' second series. Flacco was tagged again by Tuck following a pause in the action as officials reviewed an interception by Ravens' safety Haruki Nakamura.
While they were in a no-huddle attack, they also marched methodically.
The Ravens' initial scoring drive lasted 4:56, spanning 62 yards in 13 plays. That was followed by a 4:31-long scoring series (11 plays, 85 yards), and then another that went 77 yards in 10 plays and took 4:41 off the clock.
The no-huddle offense is not necessarily about snapping the ball quicker. It is the threat of an early snap that keeps the defense on edge.
Obviously, the Giants felt that threat on Saturday.
"It's not a rush," said Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin. "You're trying to make the defense make a call and then let the quarterback late in the snap count if he has to change it, change it. It's not a 'hurry, hurry' thing.
"They substituted some personnel in and out. There could be some guys out of position a little bit because of that."