BALTIMORE: The outcome of NFL preseason games is meaningless.
These games are meant to build muscle memory for starters, key players and for coaches to evaluate talent to fill out the roster.
The Eagles had the entire roster suited up, but most of the starters, except the kicking team, did not see any action…as expected.
D’Andre Swift carried the ball two times for 24 yards. His 22-yard gain no doubt brought back memories of his gash runs against the Birds in the 2022 season opener in Detroit.
Backup quarterback Marcus Mariota impressed running the ball, but got poor protection on a few plays and simply missed receivers.
He was 3 of 7 for 24 yards at the start of the game.
Mariota did recover well enough to finish his stint 7 of 11 for 58 yards. He was sacked once.
The 29-year-old drove the Eagles into scoring position twice but came away with just three points after Jake Elliott missed a 46-yard attempt under excellent field conditions.
Tyler Steen, Sua Opeta, Josh Andrews, Josh Sills and Jack Driscoll started the game and played the first half.
On defense Jalen Carter made an impact on his first series. On third-and ten he forced Ravens starting quarterback Josh Johnson to throw the ball out of bounds, forcing a three-and-out.
He only played two snaps, but was that a taste of the havoc he can produce?
“That was a little example,” Carter said in the postgame locker room. “I still feel I can get better at what I do.”
Another highlight cam when rookie free agent Eli Ricks out of Alabama picked off an Anthony Brown pass and returned for a touchdown to bring the Birds back to within one point with 8:20 left in the fourth.
The two point try failed. Ricks then followed that up with a nice play breaking up Brown pass on the next drive.
Ricks was asked if he was happy his nickname “pick six Ricks.”
“It’s nice to know it still works,” said Ricks, already a journeyman having played at two high schools, LSU and Alabama. “I hope I keep that nickname forever, I just got to keep making plays.”
The Eagles special teams had some less-than-impressive coverage in the first half but made up for it in the third quarter when Mekhi Garner forced a fumble on a punt coverage play that was recovered by Pro Bowl long snapper Rick Lovato.
Special teams ace Sean Bradley injured on the play and was carted off the field.
John Clark of NBC posted Bradley suffered an Achilles injury last night
The former Temple standout posted on Instagram saying his season was over.
"...not how i wanted the season to end for me…. But i believe that god truly does give his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers… ive been beating the odds my entire life… im not even suppose to be here…just another chapter in my story… I will be back better than i ever was… i can promise that..." *
Email Al Thompson at email@example.com