NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Baltimore Ravens got a better look at what first-round draft choice Marlon Humphrey can do when he’s healthy. They had to like what they saw.
Humphrey, drafted 16th overall out of Alabama last spring, forced a fumble, broke up a pass and made four tackles, and Baltimore beat the New Orleans Saints 14-13 in the preseason finale for both clubs Thursday night.
Humphrey had missed two of the Ravens’ first three preseason games and practice time in his first training camp because of apparently minor undisclosed injuries. But the cornerback appears like he’s ready to contribute as a rookie to an already impressive-looking Baltimore defense. He created a turnover with a heavy hit that dislodged the ball from running back Daniel Lasco. Linebacker Patrick Onwuasor recovered.
Saints kicker Wil Lutz made two of four field goal attempts, having one blocked and narrowly missing a 59-yarder for the lead in the final seconds.
With most starters resting for both clubs, the game represented a chance for reserves to solidify backup roles, or in some cases, roster spots.
Ravens quarterback Ryan Mallett completed three of eight passes in three offensive series, but his final throw was a touchdown strike over the middle to Chris Moore in tight coverage on fourth down. Bobby Rainey added a touchdown on a 2-yard end run to make it 14-0. That capped a 66-yard drive led by reserve QB Thaddeus Lewis, who completed four passes and had a first-down scramble during the series.
But Lewis’ performance was marred by a fumble when he was sacked by rookie Al-Quadin Muhammad. Second-year defensive tackle David Onyemata recovered in Saints territory, ending a scoring threat.
Chase Daniel, in line to reclaim his former job as quarterback Drew Brees’ backup, started and threw a 16-yard scoring pass to tight end Josh Hill. The play highlighted an inconsistent night in which Daniel completed 11 of 19 passes for 103 yards and was intercepted by nose tackle Carl Davis, setting up the Ravens’ first touchdown.
Late in the third quarter, the Saints made it 14-10 after defensive back Arthur Maulet, a New Orleans native trying to make the club, recovered a fumble he’d also forced by stripping punt returner and former Navy star Keenan Reynolds.
Saints starting center Max Unger, recovering from offseason foot surgery, played for the first time this preseason in the first quarter. He now appears healthy enough to start New Orleans’ opener, a Monday night contest at Minnesota.
His third snap of the game didn’t go so well, though. Daniel couldn’t handle it in shotgun formation and had to abort the play, leading to a punt.
Low trajectory was an intermittent problem for Lutz last season when he was a rookie, and was again during a failed 49-yard field goal attempt blocked by defensive lineman Patrick Ricard.
Lutz had two field goals and a critical extra point blocked last season, but the Saints have stuck with him because of his leg strength and overall accuracy. Lutz was true on kicks from 28 and 48 yards.
On the block, the snap did not appear to be a problem. It was delivered by veteran long snapper Jon Dorenbos, acquired this week in a trade with Philadelphia. Snaps also appeared clean on all eight Saints punts.
Ravens: Cornerback Sheldon Price left with an apparent concussion. … Onwuasor went down with what Baltimore officials described as a “stinger” in his shoulder and was later cleared to return.
Saints: Rookie safety Marcus Williams needed attention from trainers, but his injury was not clear or disclosed by the Saints. … Running back Travaris Cadet appeared to have an upper body injury after a 25-yard reception in the final minute.
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