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Thursday, August 22, 2013
Observation deck: Ravens-Panthers

By Jamison Hensley

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens' starting offense began with a crisp touchdown drive and finished its night with another touchdown. It was what happened in between where things went terribly wrong for quarterback Joe Flacco & Co.

Three turnovers, including two critical interceptions by Flacco, were the lowlights in another sloppy preseason effort by the Ravens, who lost to the Carolina Panthers 34-27 on Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium.

You can argue the Ravens were running a watered-down version of their offense. But there's no excuse for the continued lack of execution of it in the preseason. The Ravens have some work to do before kicking off the season at Denver in 14 days.

"We obviously turned the ball over, and you lose more games than you win in this league when you do that," Flacco said. "With what we did tonight, we're not going to win a lot of football games doing that."

Here's the good: Flacco was 8-of-8 for 82 yards on the two touchdown drives. Here's the bad: The Super Bowl MVP was 10-of-16 for 87 yards and two interceptions on the six other drives.

Flacco can't shoulder all the blame, especially with an offensive line that struggled to protect him. His first interception, which was returned 71 yards for a touchdown, was the result of Tandon Doss running the wrong route. A visibly upset Flacco yelled at Doss after the turnover.

The second interception was Flacco's fault. After Bernard Pierce's fumble led to another Carolina touchdown, Flacco drove the Ravens down the field before throwing a pass that was picked off by middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, who watched Flacco's eyes and jumped on the route over the middle. It was a bad decision and bad read by Flacco.

"It was just a lot of miscommunication, and I felt like we did a lot of good things, too," Flacco said. "In the regular season, we're not going to be able to say that. We'll have to come out here and continue to get back in games. Tonight was one of those games that we did a lot of good things, but we had some miscommunication and turned the ball over too much."

The Ravens got some of the bad taste out on the first-team offense's final drive. Flacco completed all three of his throws and finished it off with a 24-yard touchdown to Marlon Brown.

Here are some other thoughts on the Ravens' third preseason game: