Ravens Hold Off Cards: Five Things We Learned

(AP Photo/Jeff Lewis)

The Arizona Cardinals played their one, and only, 2022 pre-season home game Sunday evening, falling to the Baltimore Ravens 24-17 at State Farm Stadium. Despite an impressive late rally, the Cards fall to 1-1 in exhibition play.

Here are five things we learned in Glendale.

1. A Trace of Protection…These practice games can be tricky to evaluate simply due to the fact the starters, frequently, play sparingly – if at all. Former Raven Trace McSorley got the start for Kliff Kingsbury behind center against his former team, and the results were mixed.

“I thought it was a little up and down,” Kingsbury expressed after the game. “I thought he moved the ball well at times. He can make plays. He’s tough.”

When given time in the pocket to work through his progressions, the former Penn State star looked confident, especially on Arizona’s final first half drive which ended with a short field goal after wide receiver Vic Bolden dropped an easy touchdown on a McSorley scramble near the goal line.

The flip side was an ugly interception in Baltimore territory on Arizona’s first drive of the second half. 

McSorley, who played most of game before rookie Jarrett Guarantano took over, finished 18-34 for 229 yards with one rushing touchdown. He was intercepted twice and finished with a quarterback rating of 49.8.

2. Shaky Secondary…The tape won’t lie about one thing: defensive coordinator Vance Joseph’s secondary likely didn’t receive any game balls. 

“We’ve got to be better at tackling,” Kingsbury expressed after the game.

Until reserve linebacker Chandler Wooten’s fourth quarter interception, the Ravens’ two reserve quarterbacks, Tyler Huntley, and Anthony Brown, exposed the back half of Arizona’s defense for the majority of the game. Although the Cards held a slight edge in total yards (306-292), Baltimore averaged 5.4 yards-per-play, compared to 4.8 for the Cardinals.

3. Andy’s Inconsistencies…In fairness, whether it be due to injury or, as was the case last pre-season, COVID, Andy Isabella’s camps have been cut short for reasons beyond his control. Against the Ravens, he played well catching five passes for 54  yards on eight targets. His routes were crisp and he was frequently able to create separation, which was encouraging.  

Isabella’s familiarity with Kingsbury’s offense, as well as his ability to play multiple positions, will likely keep him on the roster as the sixth receiver, at least until Deandre Hopkins returns from his six-game suspension. 

“I’ve always been a big fan,” Kingsbury said of Isabella in his post-game press conference. “Couldn’t be more impressed at how he’s approached this camp.”

4. We’re Goin’ Streaking!…John Harbaugh must really love winning pre-season games. Sunday’s victory marked the Ravens’ 22nd-consecutive win in games that don’t count.

5. Back in Black…While the Cards’ play didn’t give us much of an indication of what to expect when the regular season starts September 11 against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, Arizona’s new sparkling black helmets looked every bit a Super Bowl contender. Although the black helmet, back jersey, white pants look greatly resemble the Atlanta Falcons’ home attire, the alternative update was needed and, at least according to most everyone covering the game Sunday, well-received.  

Arizona concludes their pre-season slate Saturday evening in Nashville against the Titans.