Ravens 34, Redskins 31
The duel between Rex Grossman and John Beck to become the Washington Redskins' starting quarterback will continue for at least another week.
Grossman and Beck both threw a touchdown pass and proved adept at leading the offense in a 34-31 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night.
''I feel very good about both quarterbacks. We can win with (either one),'' coach Mike Shanahan said. ''They played well enough today for people to see that, even outside our organization.''
OK, but who's going to start in the Sept. 11 season opener against the New York Giants?
''I'm going to evaluate them all the way through camp, all the way through the last preseason game,'' Shanahan said. ''Possibly all the way up to the day before we play the Giants. It all depends if somebody separates themself.''
At this point, the competition is virtually a dead heat.
''Obviously at the end of the day you want to make the right decision,'' Shanahan said, ''so that's why you don't make a quick decision -especially when you have two guys that you believe in and you're not really sure what direction to go in at the time.''
Grossman started, and each quarterback alternatingly played two series before third-stringer Kellen Clemens entered in the fourth quarter.
Grossman went 8 for 15 for 112 yards, directed an 80-yard scoring drive and finished with a quarterback rating of 99.9.
''I feel pretty good about what I've done this preseason,'' Grossman said. ''That was my goal.''
Beck completed six of 10 passes for 108 yards with an interception for a 90.8 rating. He guided Washington on a 97-yard march against Baltimore's second-string defense for a 28-21 lead in the third quarter.
Asked if the duel has been weighing on his mind, Beck said, ''I can't really worry about that. If I do, it's mental quicksand. You can get stuck in it. I just do what I can, play when they say play, and do the best that I can.''
The Redskins (2-1) stayed in front until Tyrod Taylor threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Jones with 22 seconds left for the Ravens (2-1), a score set up by LaQuan Williams' 38-yard punt return.
''Even in preseason, winning is better than losing,'' said coach John Harbaugh, who watched his team overcome an early 14-0 deficit.
Joe Flacco threw for 219 yards and two touchdowns, Ray Rice ran for 72 yards and a score, and Anquan Boldin had five catches for 73 yards and a touchdown for the Ravens. It was an impressive performance against a team that yielded a combined 10 points in wins over Pittsburgh and Indianapolis.
But the Baltimore defense was not nearly as sharp.
''As a unit, we can do better,'' tackle Haloti Ngata said.
DeAngelo Hall ended Baltimore's first possession by intercepting a Flacco pass, breaking an arm tackle by the quarterback and sprinting to the left corner of the end zone for a 52-yard touchdown.
''We started off a little slow, obviously,'' Flacco said. ''But I think we responded pretty well. We've got to be pretty happy with where we are.''
Grossman went 2 for 6 for 27 yards before Beck entered. His first pass was a 33-yard completion to Anthony Armstrong, who got behind Domonique Foxworth on the right sideline. Two plays later, Tim Hightower ran for a 37-yard touchdown for a 14-0 lead.
The Ravens were forced to punt on their next possession, but Lorenzo Alexander ran into kicker Sam Koch on a fourth-and-5. After Flacco connected with Boldin for a 30-yard completion on a third-and-15, Rice scored from the 3.
Baltimore pulled even with a 96-yard drive that was extended by a holding call against Washington safety Reed Doughty. Ed Dickson made a great grab for a 33-yard completion before Lee Evans hauled in a 35-yard touchdown pass. Dickson and Evans are the replacements for Todd Heap and Derrick Mason, who were cut in a salary-cap purge.
Grossman put on an impressive performance before halftime. Starting at the Washington 20, he completed his first five passes for 61 yards, then missed three straight before connecting with Santana Moss in the right corner behind rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith. The 24-yard completion capped an eight-play, 80-yard drive.
Flacco threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Boldin at the start of the second half to make it 21-all.
Beck then tossed an interception from his own end zone. He made amends on the next possession, going 5 for 6 for 75 yards in a march that ended with a 13-yard TD pass to Terrence Austin.
NOTES: Redskins DE Jarvis Jenkins sprained his right knee and will have an MRI on Friday, Shanahan said. ... Taylor went 11 for 18 for 125 yards. Afterward, Harbaugh said the former Virginia Tech QB has made the team.