The Baltimore Ravens, who had not lost a preseason game since 2015, saw their NFL-record streak of 24 consecutive wins come to an end on Monday night. The Washington Commanders, led by rookie quarterback Sam Howell, defeated the Ravens 29-28 with a last-second field goal by Joey Slye.
Ravens’ offense shines early with Flowers and Johnson
The Ravens started the game with their first-round draft pick Zay Flowers, a wide receiver from Boston College, who made an immediate impact. Flowers caught his first target for an 11-yard gain, and then scored his first professional touchdown on a 26-yard play action pass from Tyler Huntley. Flowers finished the game with four catches for 69 yards and a touchdown.
The Ravens also got a strong performance from veteran quarterback Josh Johnson, who is competing for the backup role behind Lamar Jackson. Johnson completed 11 of 17 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown, and also ran for 29 yards and another score. Johnson connected with tight end Travis Vokolek for a 25-yard touchdown in the third quarter, giving the Ravens a 21-14 lead.
Commanders rally behind Howell and Slye
The Commanders, however, did not give up easily. They kept their offensive starters in for the entire first half, and rookie quarterback Sam Howell showed why he was the seventh overall pick in the draft. Howell went 19-for-25 for 188 yards and two touchdowns, both coming in the final two minutes of the second quarter. Howell found Terry McLaurin for a 12-yard score, and then hit Alex Armah for a 4-yard touchdown as time expired in the half.
The Commanders also got a boost from kicker Joey Slye, who made all five of his field goal attempts, including the game-winner from 49 yards out with nine seconds left in the game. Slye’s kick ended the Ravens’ historic preseason winning streak, which had surpassed the previous record of 20 set by the Green Bay Packers from 1959 to 1962.
What does this mean for both teams?
The Ravens’ preseason win streak was impressive, but ultimately meaningless in terms of their regular season success. The Ravens have not won a Super Bowl since 2012, and have lost in the divisional round of the playoffs in each of the last three seasons. The Ravens will hope to bounce back from this loss and focus on their season opener against the Las Vegas Raiders on September 13.
The Commanders’ preseason win was encouraging, but also not indicative of their future prospects. The Commanders finished last in the NFC East with a 4-12 record in 2022, and have not made the playoffs since 2017. The Commanders will hope to build on this win and develop their young talent, especially Howell, who is expected to be their franchise quarterback. The Commanders will face the Los Angeles Chargers in their first game of the season on September 12.