With the Ravens losing 29-28 to Washington to end their 24-game preseason winning streak on Monday night, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:
1. Baltimore hadn’t lost a preseason game since Lamar Jackson was a Louisville freshman and Marc Trestman was offensive coordinator. Not counting Brent Urban in his second stint with the Ravens, Justin Tucker is the only player remaining from that roster. It’s a historically quirky streak that I won’t miss discussing.
2. Washington played most offensive starters for the entire first half while the Ravens started backups and began mixing in third-team defensive players soon thereafter. That’s why individual performances are what really matter when trying to take away anything meaningful from these exhibition contests.
3. If anything gave me slight pause about the Zay Flowers summer hype, it was not seeing him flash as much in full-team work compared to 1-on-1 drills that heavily favor receivers. The rookie made multiple defenders miss on his 11-yard reception and 26-yard touchdown. I’d say he’s ready.
4. Ar’Darius Washington was the best player on the field for the Baltimore defense with three pass breakups and seven tackles in 49 snaps. He plays bigger and tougher than his 5-foot-8, 177-pound frame and has made a real statement for the wide-open nickel job this summer. Washington finds the football.
5. Keeping a sixth wide receiver isn’t a given, but Tylan Wallace seemingly solidified his roster standing with a touchdown in a second straight game to continue a good summer. Though Wallace is unlikely to be a big factor offensively, his special-teams presence gives him the edge over other young receivers.
6. Josh Johnson was dramatically better than he was in the preseason opener, going 10-for-12 for 145 yards and two touchdowns in one half. Though I’m not sure it’s enough to reverse the way the No. 2 quarterback battle has trended since the start of camp, he threw some impressive passes.
7. The tight end depth was on display with Charlie Kolar leading the team with 61 receiving yards and Travis Vokolek catching two touchdowns, the latter coming against triple coverage. Any team light at the tight end position should be keeping an eye on Vokolek in the preseason finale.
8. In just nine snaps, Patrick Ricard lined up at fullback and as a blocking tight end to deliver a few impressive blocks as well as a 5-yard reception to move the chains on third down. No, this isn’t Greg Roman’s offense anymore, but Ricard can still contribute for this team.
9. An early-camp injury didn’t help, but Trenton Simpson hasn’t looked the part of someone ready to be a factor defensively, which is OK with Patrick Queen still being a Raven. The third-round rookie needs more seasoning and more bulk on his frame, but the speed definitely stands out.
10. Given the long-term uncertainty at running back and Devin Duvernay being in a contract year, Keaton Mitchell not finding his way to the 53-man roster would be a bummer. That high-end speed will play on special teams and on offense even if he doesn’t fill an immediate need for 2023.
11. The first drive of the second quarter brought bad fortune for James Proche, who correctly chose not to catch a punt that bounced at the 3 and died. Making a play on the underthrown Johnson pass would have helped him immensely, but that resulting in an interception epitomized Proche’s summer.
12. As exhibition football goes, that was an entertaining game, but the Commanders’ enthusiasm for ending the preseason streak was a bit silly, especially considering they lost Terry McLaurin — who played deep into the first half — to a toe injury. If he misses regular-season time, how much was the victory worth?