The Baltimore Ravens' offense does have a pulse. Ineffective in the only scrimmage of training camp, the new first- and second-team players adjusted well enough to the unfamiliar system of new coach Brian Billick and outplayed the Philadelphia Eagles tonight for a 10-7 victory.
Impressions are more significant than the score in these preseason tests -- and the ones left by backup quarterback Tony Banks, rookie wide receiver Brandon Stokley and a few others on offense were positive. The Eagles tied the game at 7 when players who might not make their respective teams were on the field. Matt Stover kicked a 30-yard field goal for the Ravens as time expired after missing from 35 yards earlier.
Banks replaced starter Scott Mitchell after about a quarter and completed 9 of 15 passes, including a 10-yarder that Stokley grabbed in the end zone while covered tightly with 1 minute 55 seconds left in the first half. Stokley, a fourth-round draft choice, also had another catch and continued his fine play that started during mini-camps.
Billick gave his major skill players every chance to excel by allowing them to work with the first-team offensive line -- or the regular line minus Pro Bowl left tackle Jonathan Ogden, who was inactive with a minor hip injury suffered during an early practice Tuesday. The results were spotty.
Mitchell fumbled his first snap of the game and a second time, when he was flushed from the pocket. He recovered both. He completed 4 of 7 passes for 30 yards in one quarter of action but did not lead the Ravens even close to midfield.
In his defense, wide receiver Justin Armour dropped a first-down pass at the Philadelphia 45. The one sack on Mitchell came when right end Hugh Douglas blew by Ogden's replacement, Spencer Folau.
Overall, the wide receivers played decently, with Patrick Johnson recovering from a drop near the goal line and making a leaping grab two plays later for the first down that set up the only first-half touchdown. The more experienced Qadry Ismail started ahead of Johnson, who had been running with the first team since the beginning of training camp but was less familiar with the offense, and caught both passes thrown at him.
"We're improving, that's about the best positive I can think of right now," Billick said. "I told [Eagles Coach Andy Reid] that they may ban [both teams] from the NFL regular season if we can't move the ball a little more consistently than that."
Other than both defenses mostly dominating, the first half featured the Ravens testing the new instant replay process. They argued that Webster Slaughter caught a pass in bounds midway through the second quarter. After reviewing the play on a monitor not far from the Baltimore bench, the officials ruled that the on-field judgment had been correct and the Ravens lost a timeout.
Neither team reached midfield in the first half until Banks led the drive that produced his touchdown pass to Stokley. That drive kept going when Philadelphia cornerback Al Harris tried to intercept a short pass on third down near midfield, failed and Stokley gained 20 yards after the catch.
The first-team Baltimore defense was effective, if not quite as dominant as anticipated against a young and raw Eagles' offense. End Rob Burnett (several hurries) and linebacker Cornell Brown (one sack and a batted-down pass) were particularly sharp -- and cornerback Duane Starks intercepted a pass thrown directly at him near the end of the second quarter and returned it 33 yards.
Considering the amount of time spent on that phase in camp, the special teams probably should have been better. Backup cornerback James Trapp, who generally has played well in camp, missed a tackle on punt coverage and was caught holding on one of Jermaine Lewis's punt returns.
The Eagles used their top draft choice, quarterback Donovan McNabb, in the second quarter -- and he responded to an enthusiastic welcome by completing 5 of 9 passes for 35 yards and running three times for 17 yards.
Note: Former Redskins tight end Jamie Asher fractured and dislocated his left ankle on the Eagles' sixth play and will be out at least three months.
49ERS 31, CHARGERS 24: Steve Young played long enough to throw for a touchdown and Jeff Garcia passed for two, strengthening his bid for the No. 2 job, as San Francisco beat visiting San Diego.
Playing for the second time in five days -- the Chargers lost, 20-17, to Denver on Sunday in the American Bowl in Sydney -- the Chargers were jolted by the loss of Charlie Jones, who went down with a dislocated left hip. Running back Natrone Means also left early with a shoulder bruise.
Both Jim Druckenmiller and Steve Stenstrom lost ground in their battle with Garcia for the job to back up Young.
Druckenmiller was 2 of 7 for 19 yards in about a quarter of play and became flustered under pressure as he backpedaled near his own goal line, tossing a pass into the arms of defensive tackle Norman Hand, who dropped it. Stenstrom had a pass intercepted by Orlando Ruff late in the game, leading to a Chargers' touchdown on the next play.
Garcia, a former CFL star bidding for his first NFL job, was 13 of 18 for 163 yards, including scoring passes of 11 yards to Chad Fann and 29 yards to Na'il Benjamin.