Baltimore Ravens Cover Point Spread In Defeat Carolina Panthers In Pre-Season Opener

August 13, 2010- By Jonathan Lowell

Joe Flacco drove the new-look offense of the Baltimore Ravens down the field in the MT&Bank Stadium Thursday night without much interference from the Carolina Panthers’ defense. Flacco stayed in the game for a short while, but helped the Ravens to two scores before heading to the sidelines for the duration of the game.

Though Matt Moore is considered the starter heading into the regular season, rookie Jimmy Clausen got the majority of the reps as the Panthers prepare him for the NFL. Carolina is committed to grooming the former Notre Dame quarterback into their starter of the future according to the 2010 Carolina Panthers season preview.

Moore led the Panthers to the 50-yard line in the first drive of the game, but suffered a sack and fumble on third down that put the offense back on the Carolina 33-yard line. Carolina punted, and Flacco ran onto the field for the first time in the 2010 pre-season. He led them down all the way to the Panther six-yard line before getting sacked on third down. Shayne Graham nailed a 32-yard field goal to give the Ravens a 3-0 lead.

There was very little offense in the rest of the first quarter, but the Ravens struck again shortly after the start of the second. Flacco began to hit Willis McGahee on a series of short screens before he hooked up with Michael Clayton for a 30-yard touchdown pass. The Panthers answered with a John Kasay 37-yard field goal to bring the score to 10-3. Clausen would see time shortly before the end of the half, and drove his team down to the Baltimore 30. He showed good clock management skills, spiking the ball with one second left on the clock to bring out the field goal team. Jason Baker fumbled the hold, and was brought down to deny the Panthers another score before the half.

The third quarter started with Troy Smith at the helm for the Ravens, and did little to get the offense down the field. A reversed call backed them up five yards on the first play of the quarter, and Smith was sacked twice forcing the punt. It is for this type of inconsistent play that Smith is not listed as a projected starter in the 2010 Baltimore Ravens season preview. Clausen took over on the 50, but the drive was stalled when he was intercepted by Cary Williams. On the very next play, C.J. Wilson recovered a fumble and took it in to bring Carolina within a point. Kasay missed the extra point to leave the score at 9-10. A young cornerback out of Georgia, Prince Miller, made his case for making the roster by returning a punt 57 yards to set up a Smith touchdown run from eight yards out.

Hunter Cantwell started for Carolina at quarterback for the majority of the fourth quarter. Rookie Tony Pike made an appearance, but couldn’t get the team down the field for more than a field goal. Kasay kicked a 45-yard field goal through the uprights that would conclude the scoring in the game. Smith took a knee to end the game after Cantwell came back under center, and failed to convert a 4th and 15.

The Ravens covered the three-point spread set by 2010 NFL betting odds by defeating the Panthers 17-12. Those betting the under according to USA friendly sportsbooks, were successful as the pre-game line was set at 34 points.

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