Perfect Preseason

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The Ravens were hoping to complete a few simple tasks in their preseason finale against the Atlanta.

Learn a little more about some of the prospects buried on the depth chart.

Get a few snaps for linebacker/defensive end Terrell Suggs, who had missed all previous preseason contests.

And above all, keep everybody healthy.

At the end of Thursday night's battle of the birds, it seems that Baltimore checked everything off the list and even added a 20-3 victory in the process. At the conclusion of their first undefeated preseason since the 2000 Super Bowl year, the Ravens now shift their focus to the Kansas City Chiefs and the regular-season opener on Sept. 13.

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"We had certain things we wanted to accomplish for each one of those games, and we really felt like we accomplished, in each one of those games, the things we wanted to accomplish," said head coach John Harbaugh earlier this week. "Those are very specific things to each position and each side of the ball. But also, with that, we want to win the game if we can."

The Ravens had success early, and the fact that they did it with what could be considered their junior varsity, the outlook for both sides of the football is promising.

With Baltimore's second-string offense facing the Falcons' starting defense, quarterback John Beck led the Ravens on a 14-play, 91-yard scoring drive on his first series.

Baltimore's backup defense, which featured cameos from starters Suggs and linebacker Tavares Gooden, held quarterback Matt Ryan and the top Falcons offense to 32 total yards.

In a game where the score wasn't nearly as important as the effort on the field, Harbaugh was happy with what he initially saw.

"That was very encouraging and exciting. It was more than encouraging," said Harbaugh.  "Our guys went out there and played. It's like we told them, that group that went out there could play anybody in this League and whip them."

Behind an offensive line that had Joe Reitz at left tackle, Bryan Mattison at left guard, Robby Felix playing center, David Hale at right guard and Tre' Stallings manning right tackle, Beck completed all five of his pass attempts for 50 yards.

He even overcame a sack that forced a third-and-10 to hit Demetrius Williams for a 13-yard connection and a first down.

Two plays later, Williams, who finished with four catches for 77 yards, drew a pass-interference penalty on cornerback Brent Grimes that cost the Falcons 26 yards and moved the football to Atlanta's 25-yard line.

Williams could have used a big night, considering that he rode on the team plane to Atlanta with a surgical mask because he was battling flu-like symptoms and was overlooked in the starting lineup last week in favor of Kelley Washington.

"Demetrius made some good plays. The catch on the slant coming down on that long drive kept the drive alive. Those are difficult plays to make," Harbaugh noted, focusing on the first-down catch.

It was Williams again who hauled in a 19-yarder over his shoulder to get within the red zone, and Beck found rookie fullback Jason Cook on a short pass in the flat. The 245-pound undrafted free agent then rumbled 5 yards to the end zone.

"Coach Harbaugh asked the offense to come out and have the mindset that we were going to go down the field and score on that defense and put the ball in the end zone," said Bech, who is listed as the third-team quarterback on the depth chart.  "I think that our unit as a whole thought that we were going to go down the field and score."

After Suggs left the game with two series of work, accumulating three tackles and a sack, the Falcons got on the board in the second quarter with a 45-yard field goal from veteran kicker Jason Elam.  But, the three-pointer capped a nine-play drive that only went 32 yards.

Following a series of punts throughout the third period, the Ravens began to pull away in the fourth.

Steve Hauschka split the uprights from 33 and 46 yards.  His performance may have cemented his status as Baltimore's permanent kicker for the 2009 campaign.

Beck also found receiver Eron Riley for a 15-yard touchdown pass. Two snaps after Riley caught a 47-yard pass from Beck, the Duke product grabbed a short toss and bulled his way into the end zone with two defenders hanging on.

Now, the Ravens head back to Baltimore for practice on Friday before beginning their typical game-week schedule on Monday.  Baltimore must cut its roster down from the current list of 75 players to 53 by Saturday, Sept. 5 at 6 p.m.

With so many Ravens excelling in Atlanta, it will not be an easy task.

"It's going to be extremely hard," said Harbaugh.  "We have more than 53 good players on this team. We have a lot more than 53 good players on this team. If we're talking about the practice squad, it's going to be hard to get down to 61 for the practice squad. I think that's a tribute to the players themselves and a tribute to our coaches and personnel staff. It's going to be an interesting two days of conversations."

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