Football is back and the Baltimore Ravens are the first team with a win after beating the Chicago Bears, 17-16, in the Hall of Fame Game.
It was an exciting night early in the game, despite the fact that most of the marquee players on both teams — including Mitchell Trubisky, Jordan Howard, and Joe Flacco — stayed on the sideline. In the first quarter alone, there were 17 points scored and three turnovers.
In the final three quarters, things slowed down and the debut of Lamar Jackson was mostly forgettable.
Here is a look back at the most interesting moments of the preseason opener:
1. Lamar Jackson’s first touchdown :)
Early in the third quarter, a Bears fumble gave the Ravens the ball back, and an unnecessary roughness penalty put Baltimore on the doorstep.
Lamar Jackson took advantage with his first touchdown of the day, finding fellow first-round rookie Hayden Hurst on an 8-yard pass.
2. Lamar Jackson’s first interception :(
One drive after throwing his first touchdown, Jackson threw his first interception. He was late on a throw near the sideline, allowing Bears cornerback Doran Grant to step in front for a relatively easy interception.
Did we mention it was Jackson’s first preseason game?
3. Sound the helmet rule alarms
A controversial new rule that disallows using the helmet as a weapon took all of five minutes into preseason to make an impact.
Use of helmet penalty.— Steelers Depot (@Steelersdepot) August 3, 2018
Learn it. Know it. Live it.pic.twitter.com/LY2nPy40Hk
Get used to flags flying when players lowers their head to make a tackle. This was the first of two penalties that fell under the NFL’s new helmet rule.
4. Nice to meet you, new Bears offense
With no Mitchell Trubisky, Jordan Howard, or Allen Robinson, the debut of the Matt Nagy offense looked pretty exciting for the Bears. Big plays for Josh Bellamy and Benny Cunningham had Chicago in the red zone on their first drive and we already saw a more wide open Bears offense.
Bears coming out on second down with four wide receivers, something they might have done four times all last year.— charles mcdonald (lakers 0-0) (@FourVerts) August 3, 2018
The drive came to an end when Chase Daniel threw a pass to the middle of the field that bounced off an offensive lineman’s helmet and was intercepted by the Ravens’ Chuck Clark.
5. Hello again, RG3
Robert Griffin III — looking a whole lot like the 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year version of Robert Griffin III — led the Ravens on an eight-play, 77-yard drive that finished with a rollout touchdown pass to tight end Maxx Williams.
This is a good time for Griffin to ball out because it could set up big things in the near future.
Said this on my video... I expect RG3 to be locked in this preseason because I doubt they keep 3 QBs so he's the odd man out. A good preseason could equal a trade for him or an opportunity after he gets released to be the number 2 somewhere w/a chance to play at some point— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) August 3, 2018
It’d be early to say RGIII is back ... but is RGIII back?
6. Hello, Kamalei Correa
One play after tying up the game, Chase Daniel gifted the Ravens another scoring opportunity when he threw a pass straight into the arms of former second-round pick Kamalei Correa.
Correa has a grand total of 11 tackles in two seasons with the Ravens. It’d be a pleasant development for Baltimore if he finally lived up to his draft status.
The Ravens only got a field goal out of the golden field position, but Correa made a statement.
7. FULLBACK TOUCHDOWN
A passing touchdown to a fullback? How about that for some creativity in the Bears offense?
The first points of the 2018 preseason came when Chase Daniel found the former Lions fullback Michael Burton across the middle of the field.
Pass out of an offset Pistol formation on the goal line for a touchdown. The new Bears are quite #fun, schematically at least.— SB Nation NFL (@SBNationNFL) August 3, 2018
Trubisky wasn’t not out there, but there’s still reason for Chicago fans to be excited.
8. Poor Breshad Perriman
Two drives, two deflections, two interceptions. With Robert Griffin III starting under center for Baltimore, the Ravens opened with a pass that RGIII put right on the hands of Breshad Perriman. Unfortunately for Baltimore, it went straight through Perriman’s hands and was picked off by the Bears.
Not a good start for a receiver who is a former first-round pick squarely in bust city right now.
Replay appeared to show the ball hit the ground, but officials upheld the call after review.
9. THANK YOU FOR NO OVERTIME
Nobody wants preseason overtime, so when the Bears scored what would’ve usually been a game-tying touchdown in the final minutes, they instead went for two. Tyler Bray couldn’t find anyone and threw a ball through the back of the end zone.
Still, he led a good drive, scored a touchdown, and gave the Bears a shot at the win.
And even better, we didn’t have to sit through another period.
10. Your MVPs
After 17 points, three touchdowns, and lots of turnovers in the first quarter, the rest of the half, as well as the second half, looked more like your usual Hall of Fame Game.
- Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III: 7 of 11, 58 passing yards, 9 rushing yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
- Ravens linebacker Kamalei Correa: Three sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble.
- Bears coach Matt Nagy: The Bears offense appears to be actually fun.
The Ravens are making their first appearance in the game, just days before Ray Lewis is set to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Ravens failed to make the postseason last season after going 9-7 and finishing second in the AFC North.
The Ravens’ first-round pick and Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson will make his preseason debut. Jackson, who has received praise from his coaches, is expected to be the backup quarterback to Joe Flacco.
The Bears are making their fifth appearance in the Hall of Fame game. The Bears are 4-0 in their trips to Canton. Former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher will also be enshrined this weekend.
The game will be televised on NBC and streamed via NBC Sports Live at 8 p.m. ET.
NFL Hall of Fame Game 2018: Time, TV schedule/live stream:
Date: Thursday, August 2, 2018
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Location: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton, Ohio