The Atlanta Falcons seemed well on their way to an easy victory through three quarters, but the Baltimore Ravens' reserves found some rhythm late to pull off a 27-23 comeback win Thursday night. With the starters long gone, Baltimore scored 20 unanswered points in the final 15 minutes.
Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco put on a passing clinic Thursday night, as both quarterbacks looked to be in midseason form. The Falcons added the first points of the game with a 45-yard Matt Bryant field goal, but the Ravens answered back immediately.
Flacco found Torrey Smith on a 77-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, the longest offensive play Thursday night. This made up the majority of his performance as he finished 7-of-9 for 118 yards with an interception. Ryan had an excellent game, too, as he added 97 yards and a touchdown pass of his own, a red zone toss to Julio Jones.
Despite the lapse that allowed Flacco's touchdown, the Atlanta defense was too much for Baltimore's starters. Ray Rice was unable to run on the Falcons' defensive front, as he finished with just 10 yards on eight carries. This theme didn't continue, however, as the Ravens' depth showed later on.
Atlanta dominated for much of the game, but everything changed in the final quarter. Second-string quarterback Tyrod Taylor was the catalyst, as the Ravens added 20 unanswered points. Taylor threw for two touchdowns, including an impressive 40-yard score to rookie Aaron Mellette. Cornerback Asa Jackson capped off the comeback by returning a punt 78 yards for the touchdown.
The Falcons will presumably focus on their first-team dominance, while Baltimore comes away with some extra confidence in its depth. It will be interesting to see if Mellette gets more opportunities as a result, with the late-round rookie showing excellent promise early in preseason.
Did they cover?
The Ravens were 4.5-point favorites, according to OddsShark. Their four-point win means they did not cover the spread.
Aug. 22, 8 p.m. ET: Baltimore vs. Carolina
Aug. 24, 8 p.m. ET: Atlanta vs. Tennessee