ATLANTA (AP) — Chykie Brown returned an interception 65 yards for a touchdown and Baltimore scored the clincher after another Atlanta turnover, an appropriate way to decide a dreadful game won by the Ravens 21-7 Thursday night to complete a winless preseason for the Falcons.
Not that this final exhibition game was much of an indicator of how either team will look once the score actually matters. Both teams sat out of many of their key starters, including quarterbacks Matt Ryan of the Falcons and Joe Flacco of the Ravens.
Those who did play — many of them battling for roster spots or likely out of the running no matter how well they played — were to be expected. Baltimore (3-1) failed to generate much offense, while the Falcons (0-4) turned it over four times.
Third-string quarterback John Parker Wilson was intercepted twice, including the pick that Brown, a rookie, grabbed right in front of the Atlanta bench and took down the sideline for a touchdown that erased Atlanta’s 10-7 lead with 1:59 left in the third.
After Billy Cundiff kicked his second field goal to stretch Baltimore’s lead to 13-7, the Falcons’ last gasp ended with yet another turnover. Wilson, who took quite a beating, was leveled by Michael McAdoo and coughed up the ball. It was recovered by Jason Phillips at the Atlanta 5 with 2 1/2 minutes remaining in the game.
On the next play, Damien Berry took it to the end zone to finish off the Falcons, who failed to win a preseason game for the first time since 2003.
That year, Michael Vick broke a leg in an exhibition game — against the Ravens, no less — and the Falcons spiraled to a 5-11 record that led to the firing of coach Dan Reeves before the year was done. This team has much higher hopes, coming off a NFC South title and bolstered by the drafting of receiver Julio Jones and the signing of defensive end Ray Edwards.
Jones caught a 25-yard pass from Chris Redman on the first snap of the game, and Edwards chased Tyrod Taylor into the arms of teammate Kroy Biermann for a sack.
The only other highlight for the home team came early in the third, when Antone Smith broke off a 46-yard touchdown run that might help his chances of sliding onto the Falcons final 53-man roster.
Taylor, the rookie out of Virginia Tech, started at quarterback for the Ravens and broke off a 9-yard run with his first play. But he didn’t play much longer than Redman, completing 2 of 3 passes for 16 yards and running twice for 11 yards.
Redman was 4 of 8 for 58 yards, though he did give up Atlanta’s first turnover when blindsided by Paul Kruger, the ball coming loose and recovered by Bernard Pollard.
Even the officials had a rough night. Two calls were challenged by Falcons coach Mike Smith, and both were overturned after the referee checked out the replay.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)