What looked so promising for the Ravens last night unraveled quickly.
But after a sharp opening drive gave way to a bizarre loss on four return touchdowns by the Panthers, Ravens coach John Harbaugh refused to freak out about the state of his offense.
“We came out healthy. I’m very pleased with that,” Harbaugh said, via Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. “I’m very pleased with really most everything about the game. I like the way we played, I liked how we played. I just didn’t like the four return touchdowns. Next time that happens, it needs to be us doing that rather than them.”
Coming out intact (although backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor was being tested for a concussion) is always the primary goal of the preseason.
But quarterback Joe Flacco is still feeling his way through new targets in the passing game, and it showed as the game went on. He threw a pair of interceptions which were returned for touchdowns, his third and fourth picks of the preseason.
“We obviously turned the ball over, and you lose more games than you win this league when you do that,” Flacco said. “With what we did tonight, we’re not going to win a lot of football games doing that. At the same time, it was just a lot of miscommunication, and I felt like we did a lot of really good things, too.”
The “miscommunication” was evident on a ball intended for wide receiver Tandon Doss, as Flacco was gesturing directions to him before they left the field. When deciding whether the fault lies with a guy with seven NFL receptions or a Super Bowl MVP, the odds are kind of stacked.
“Joe is not one to throw a lot of interceptions as we all know,” Harbaugh said. “ A lot of that is he’s probably trying to get a feel for guys. Joe will be the first to take responsibility. He’s always been that way. I don’t expect that to be an issue this year but we have to make sure of that.”
Of course, they’ll also probably continue to look for targets for Flacco, after injuries and offseason moves left him short.