Published November 20, 2014
Joe Flacco threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns for the pass-happy Baltimore Ravens, whose no-huddle offense befuddled the New York Giants in a 24-10 preseason victory Saturday night.
Flacco completed 21 of 34 passes before leaving after one series in the third quarter. Last year, he threw as many as 34 passes only seven times for a team that relied heavily on the run.
Going without a huddle and often throwing on first down, the Ravens (3-0) scored 17 points over three straight possessions in the first half and coasted to their seventh consecutive preseason win.
New York (1-2) managed only five first downs in the pivotal first half. Returning after a one-week absence, quarterback Eli Manning went 9 for 18 for 63 yards and an interception in 30 minutes of play.
Manning last played on Aug. 16, when he received stitches to his forehead after taking a hard hit in a game against the New York Jets. In this one, he received little support from the running game: New York rushed for 58 yards in the first half, half of them on a 29-yarder by Brandon Jacobs.
"We've got to have more production than we're having and we've got to play better," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said at halftime.
Baltimore's defense did not permit a touchdown during the preseason until Rhett Bomar threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Victor Cruz with 1:18 left.
That was arguably the one glaring flaw in Flacco's solid performance. The third-year quarterback connected with five different receivers — throwing touchdowns to newcomer Anquan Boldin and old hand Todd Heap — and ran for a team-high 16 yards.
"We had a good tempo going tonight, we got in a groove and we were able to march the ball down the field," Flacco said. "I really feel good about the how we were doing things."
The Ravens passed 32 times in the first half, ran only 11 times and amassed 17 first downs and 243 yards.
"They hit us with the no-huddle and it kind of hurried the game," Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said. "We made some plays, but there's still a lot of work for us to get this defense where we want it to be."
Baltimore's second possession began with a sack, but the Ravens pulled out of a second-and-18 when Flacco hit running back Ray Rice and Boldin on successive completions totaling 29 yards. Flacco later ran 10 yards on a third-down play to set up a field goal by Billy Cundiff.
The Giants then moved from their 11 to the Baltimore 15 before Ahmad Bradshaw was stuffed three straight times in a bid to gain one yard and a first down.
Flacco promptly moved the Ravens the other way, completing five straight passes to begin a drive that ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Boldin on fourth-and-3. Flacco went 6 for 7 for 67 yards on the 11-play march.
After the Giants punted, Flacco again deftly moved the Ravens downfield. Beginning at the Baltimore 23, he completed five consecutive passes to start the drive. Then, after a run by Le'Ron McClain, Heap got in front of New York safety Antrel Rolle for an 11-yard catch on a fourth-and-2 from the New York 36.
Three plays later, Rolle was called for a hit to the helmet on receiver Mark Clayton, a penalty that gave the Ravens a first down at the New York 13. Heap then made a leaping catch in the end zone in front of Rolle for a 17-0 lead.
Clayton sustained a mild concussion on Rolle's hit and sat out the rest of the game.