NFL Preseason Week 1 Game Recap: Baltimore Ravens 17, New Orleans Saints 14

Baltimore, Maryland, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) looks towards the score board during the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints held a fourth-quarter lead despite five turnovers in their preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens. A late touchdown on the ground from former Utah Utes quarterback Tyler Huntley pushed Baltimore ahead. And a sixth Saints turnover by rookie quarterback Ian Book was too much to overcome, as Ravens rookie defensive back Shaun Wade sealed the victory with an interception late in the fourth quarter.

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Edge to Jameis Winston in QB battle — Taysom Hill strung together an impressive first drive (4-for-5, 62 yards) and looked to be in control of the offense, but he petered out after that opening salvo. Even if Winston’s night ended with an interception, the passing offense was slightly more efficient during his opportunity at quarterback. The Saints averaged 6.8 yards per pass play on Winston’s 13 dropbacks compared to 5.3 with Hill at quarterback.

Marquez Callaway looks ready to pick up the slack at WR —  Callaway caught three passes for 61 yards in the game, all of which came on the first drive from Hill. His four targets averaged 15.8 yards downfield. The Saints need Callaway to be a consistent producer following Emmanuel Sanders‘ departure and the uncertainty hanging over Michael Thomas, especially early in the season.

Geno Stone is back to stay in Baltimore — Stone came away with two of Baltimore’s four turnovers in the first half. The first came on a ball that Hill put out in front of Ty Montgomery, allowing Stone to get in position to secure the interception. His second pick followed a deflection on a downfield shot by Winston. Stone — a PFF favorite coming out of Iowa — was waived by the Ravens last December before being signed back on a one-year deal in March.

Patrick Queen can fly — There was a two-play stretch late in the first quarter that really highlighted what Queen’s athleticism brings to the Ravens’ defense. Queen diagnosed a screen and closed on the play for a tackle in the backfield, and the second-year linebacker followed that up by sacking Hill on third down. Queen was charted as the first contact defender on a game-high five first-half plays.

Tony Jones Jr. productive as runner and receiver — The former Notre Dame running back tallied 82 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown to go along with five receptions for 38 yards. Jones recorded four carries of at least 10 yards, three more than all other running backs in the game combined. A third-quarter fumble was the only blemish on his night.

Tyler Huntley with Lamar-esque flashes — At one point, Rod Woodson declared on the broadcast that he needed to see Lamar Jackson on the sideline to make sure he wasn’t the one that just ripped off a 17-yard scramble. Huntley finished the game with 44 rushing yards and a late go-ahead touchdown on four carries (excluding the kneel-downs to end the game) to go along with 12 completions on 16 pass attempts. He likely improved his chances of starting the regular season as Jackson’s backup.


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