Ravens 24, Falcons 0
Perhaps this wasn't the best night to evaluate the improvements in the Baltimore Ravens' passing game and in second-year quarterback Kyle Boller in particular, since a steady, driving rain fell for most of their preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday.
Baltimore shut out the Falcons, 24-0, in front of 69,299, the largest preseason crowd in Ravens history.
Boller's statistics weren't bad -- he was 5 of 9 for 56 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions -- but he looked a little anxious and wasn't especially sharp. He was sacked on two of the first three plays, and his longest completion (23 yards) was due more to a nice catch by wide receiver Kevin Johnson.
But Boller did direct the defending AFC North champions to the end zone on a 13-play, 95-yard drive that resulted in a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Wilcox.
"I don't know if I'm satisfied," Boller said. "I made some mistakes, I kind of got back to some bad habits of quick feet and that kind of stuff. . . . I feel like I calmed down as the game went on."
Kordell Stewart took over for Boller late in the second quarter and was 2 of 7 for 17 yards and one touchdown (a 10-yard pass to Wilcox).
Jamal Lewis, who rushed for the second-highest total in NFL history last year (2,066 yards), had six carries for 14 yards, and most of those yards came on one 12-yard run.
"I was a little rusty," Lewis said. "I may have had the pads on [in training camp], but I haven't gotten too much contact. I was really in practice mode. It was good to get real football."
Lewis's backups -- Chester Taylor (47 yards on seven carries) and Musa Smith (26 yards on 14 carries) -- were solid, a good sign considering events earlier in the day. Lewis faces federal drug conspiracy charges, and on Thursday, a judge in Atlanta set a trial date for Nov. 1.
Baltimore's defense, always its strength, scored one touchdown and limited Atlanta to 135 yards of total offense. The Falcons didn't gain a first down in the second half.
Cornerback Fred Weary, who was signed by the Ravens at the start of training camp, had a 49-yard interception return for a touchdown, and reserve cornerback Ray Walls also picked off a pass.
The Ravens' defense spent much of the game chasing after former Virginia quarterback Matt Schaub (12 for 24, 128 yards, two interceptions), rather than Michael Vick. The Falcons decided earlier in the week to limit Vick to just one series, perhaps mindful of what happened when these teams met during the preseason last year. Vick broke his leg after being hit by linebacker Adalius Thomas early in the game and missed the first 10 games of the regular season.
But one series wound up being just three plays and zero passes for the former Virginia Tech star. Vick handed off to Warrick Dunn twice, and then was sacked by safety Will Demps.
"It was hard to judge my performance on just three plays," Vick told ESPN in the first quarter. "As the preseason goes on, I'll play a little bit more. I've worked hard to study this offense."
Notes: Orlando Brown missed the game to be with his sick mother, and veteran Ethan Brooks started in his place at right tackle. . . .
Corey Fuller started at left cornerback, since Pro Bowler Chris McAlister has yet to report to camp because of a contract dispute.