By Ross Jones and Sid Saraf, FOXSports.com
1. Thankfully, these games don’t count
Because the Ravens fell flat during the first half of their “dress rehearsal” game at home against the Panthers. Things started out well, as Baltimore drove 11 plays on their first possession and punched it in with a Ray Rice 1-yard touchdown run. But that was the only thing that went well in the first half.
During a 10-minute stretch in the second quarter, ball security became an issue. First Joe Flacco threw an interception that Drayton Florence returned 71 yards for a touchdown. Two plays later, Bernard Pierce coughed up the ball and Thomas David picked it up and returned it for another score.
The Ravens put together a promising drive that took them down to the Panthers’ 10-yard line, but Flacco threw another pick, this time to Luke Kuechly.
Harbaugh on the first-half: “When you turn it over and give up a special teams touchdown, you put yourself in a big hole.”
Well, at least they have almost two weeks to get it together before the season starts.
2. Ted Ginn can still bring it
The Panthers have been looking for a sparkplug, so they went out and signed Ted Ginn, Jr. in the offseason. That’s right, he’s in Carolina now. And on Thursday night, Ginn did this:
Say what you want about Ginn’s NFL career, but the guy can return kicks with the best of them. He can prove to be a valuable weapon as his talent on special teams can help the Panthers win the field-position battle.
3. Patriots struggle holding on to a football
Nothing angers Bill Belichick like mental mistakes and turnovers. Let’s just say The Hoodie must’ve left Ford Field absolutely furious. Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden and Zach Sudfeld each fumbled and Tom Brady threw a bad interception to Lions cornerback Chris Houston. Things need to be cleaned up or Belichick will clean house.
4. Reggie Bush is incredible in open space
He might not be your prototypical, between-the-tackles running back, but Reggie Bush can still make defenders miss in the open field. Where he will be so dangerous in the Lions offense is out of the backfield and in the passing game. His unique athleticism allows offensive coordinator Scott Linehan to line him up in multiple positions to create one-on-one matchups. Bush had 6 carries for a yard, but was targeted seven times and finished the night with 5 receptions for 103 yards.
5. Is it a reach to call Luke Kuechly the best MLB in football?
Following up his Rookie of the Year campaign, Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly has been absolutely dominant in preseason. Kuechly has complete control of the defense and has a veteran presence in his reads and while aligning his teammates. The product of Boston College forced a fumble, intercepted a Flacco pass and racked up seven tackles. Does anyone at his position play with as much intensity as he does? It’s hard to find.