A handful of Ravens on the roster bubble enjoyed good nights. Geno Stone, a second-year safety, intercepted two passes and registered three solo tackles. Jake Verity, a rookie free agent kicker, looked like a veteran as he nailed field goals of 42 and 53 yards. He doesn’t have a future in Baltimore due to Justin Tucker, but this performance could create a market for his services. Ty’Son Williams totaled 64 yards of offense on 15 touches and ran hard with the ball, looking very much like a back who belongs in the NFL. Wide receiver Jaylon Moore led the team with 32 receiving yards. Rookie cornerback Shaun Wade sealed the win with a leaping interception late in the fourth quarter. But the young player who stood out the most was safety Brandon Stephens – a rookie who is definitely not on the roster bubble. He was in on a team-high six tackles and split a sack. With his speed and strength, Stephens is on his way to carving out a role in the 2021 defense.
Geno Stone is back to stay in Baltimore — Stone came away with two of Baltimore’s four turnovers in the first half. The first came on a ball that Hill put out in front of Ty Montgomery, allowing Stone to get in position to secure the interception. His second pick followed a deflection on a downfield shot by Winston. Stone — a PFF favorite coming out of Iowa — was waived by the Ravens last December before being signed back on a one-year deal in March.
Tyler Huntley with Lamar-esque flashes — At one point, Rod Woodson declared on the broadcast that he needed to see Lamar Jackson on the sideline to make sure he wasn’t the one that just ripped off a 17-yard scramble. Huntley finished the game with 44 rushing yards and a late go-ahead touchdown on four carries (excluding the kneel-downs to end the game) to go along with 12 completions on 16 pass attempts. He likely improved his chances of starting the regular season as Jackson’s backup.
Odafe Oweh and Daelin Hayes were both disruptive with Oweh showing off his power and speed and Hayes using a nice move for a quarterback hit and forced incompletion. Oweh serving as a punt gunner is reminiscent of Adalius Thomas back in the day. That could be fun to watch.
Jaylon Ferguson played like someone understanding he has to win a roster spot, finishing with four tackles and splitting a sack with L.J. Fort in the fourth quarter. That was a coverage takedown, but the 2019 third-round pick played with a good motor throughout the night.
Entering his third season after starting seven games last year, Ben Powers had the opportunity to show versatility by starting at left guard and playing right tackle, but it was a forgettable night for the 2019 fourth-round pick. Other linemen struggled, but you’d like to see more progress from him.
Ar’Darius Washington made the most of his opportunities by putting his helmet on the football to force a fumble and breaking up a pass. There’s plenty of preseason left, but he continues to look like the only rookie free agent with a decent chance to crack the 53-man roster.
Patrick Queen looks faster, slimmer and like a purple lightning bolt in the middle of the Ravens’ defense. Wearing No. 6, Queen was all over the field in limited snaps (20). The ballhawk was a blur, compiling four tackles, two for loss, and a sack. A two-play sequence underscored the type of difference-maker the second-year pro can be in 2021. On a quick swing pass to running back Devonta Freeman, Queen was shot out of a cannon to force a 3-yard loss. The next play, the LB set the edge and sacked Taysom Hill for a 12-yard loss. Two plays, negative-15 yards. All on Queen. The playmaker highlighted a Ravens defense that flew all over the field, forcing turnovers at every level. Baltimore generated three forced fumbles and three INTs. With the Ravens losing pass rushers this offseason, there were some questions about whether Wink Martindale’s defense would remain top shelf. Based on Saturday’s tilt, expect another aggressive unit spearheaded by Queen.
The Ravens offensive line played Saturday how it’s practiced and that’s not a good thing – Jeff Zrebiec
The pass protection was shaky at best, especially in the early going. The run blocking was even worse. There were penalties and breakdowns. Adding injury to insult, starting center Bradley Bozeman limped to the locker room in the second quarter with an ankle injury. Harbaugh believes Bozeman sustained a minor sprain, but he’ll probably miss some practice time, further delaying the starting offensive line becoming whole.
How bad did things get? The Ravens forced three turnovers and a punt on the Saints’ first four possessions. The Ravens, meanwhile, couldn’t muster a first down on their first four drives and went backward on two of them. When the Ravens needed just a yard to prolong one first-quarter drive, J.K. Dobbins instead lost one. He could have been tackled by any number of Saints.
Harbaugh acknowledged that it’s no certainty that the starting offensive line will play a game together before the preseason ends in two weeks.
“You just kind of have to do what you have to do,” he said. “If we don’t get them together because of circumstances, it’s not like we’re not going to play. I can’t say we’re not going to play, so it’ll be what it is. Hopefully, we can get them out there for the last game. There’s a lot of time and a lot of circumstances between now and then.”