Eagles shine despite falling to the Ravens 20-19

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) and teammates warm up during practice at the NFL football teams training facility in Philadelphia, Thursday, June 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

For the first time since walking onto the field in Glendale Arizona six months ago, the Philadelphia Eagles played a meaningful football game to kick off the 2023 season.

Philadelphia opened up preseason action with a 20-19 loss to the Baltimore Ravens – the 24th straight opponent to fall at the hands of the Ravens during preseason action.

Saturday night saw the Eagles sit most key starters on both sides of the ball, but it didn’t keep the second team off the scoreboard to start.

Led by a 22-yard run from DeAndre Swift and the elusiveness of Marcus Mariota outside of the pocket, the Eagles opened up preseason play with a 14-play, 55-yard drive that was capped off by a Jake Elliott 45-yard field goal. Mariota played just a quarter of action but completed 7/11 passes for 58 yards.

Baltimore, like Philly, also sat the majority of their starters on Saturday but also got plenty of offensive production from their second team. Recently signed Josh Johnson made the most of his opportunity against the team who beat him in the NFC Title game last season with a second-quarter touchdown throw to Devin Duvernay for the lead. The Ravens were assisted by two holding penalties by the Eagles secondary on the drive, as well as a short-field thanks to Elliott missing a 46-yard field goal attempt.

From there, the Eagles turned to sixth-round rookie quarterback Tanner McKee who immediately stretched the field with accurate throws down the sideline. McKee shredded the Ravens’ secondary throughout the second quarter leading two scoring drives for the Eagles. Trey Sermon scored on a two-yard touchdown run to put Philadelphia back up front 13-7.

McKee was a clear winner from Saturday’s contest. He finished the game 10/20 passing for 148 yards and several clutch throws on money downs.

Even with the success from McKee, a clear detriment to the group on both sides of the ball was the undisciplined penalties they dealt with throughout the game. Philadelphia was called for seven penalties throughout the game and had several key moments stalled out due to unforced errors.

Baltimore would capitalize on those mistakes in the second half with a touchdown drive from backup quarterback Tyler Huntley to Tylan Wallace. Wallace’s touchdown catch put Baltimore back in front with a late field goal giving them a seven-point lead.

Philly would battle back thanks to an undrafted free agent though. Eli Ricks jumped in front of a pass to record a pick-six to cut the Ravens’ deficit to just one late in the contest. A late rally from the defense was squashed though after Ian Book failed to convert on two separate fourth-down opportunities.

The win was Baltimore’s 24th straight preseason victory, which extends an NFL record. Philadelphia will be back on the practice field with joint work scheduled with the Cleveland Browns on Monday and Tuesday.

They’ll face the Browns in the second week of the preseason on Thursday of next week.

Eagles Game Notes

  • Philadelphia suffered some injuries to key backups throughout Saturday’s loss. Shaun Bradley had to be carted off in the third quarter due to a lower-body injury he suffered on a muffed punt. Bradley left the game in tears. The Eagles have not disclosed the severity of the injury.
  • The Eagles picked up right where they left off from last season’s success at running the football. The combination of Mariota, Swift, and Rashaad Penny tallied over 100 yards rushing on 4.6 yards per attempt. Penny was the leading rusher on the day with nine carries for 34 yards.
  • Howie Roseman‘s rookie class showed out in key ways throughout the loss. Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith each recorded a QB pressure, along with McKee’s success through the air. Rookie safety Sydney Brown led the team in tackles even though he only started playing into the third quarter.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke