By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Falcons end preseason with a loss
Baltimore Ravens running back Jason Cook, right, fights off Atlanta Falcons defender Chris Houston to score a touchdown in the first quarter Thursday in Atlanta. - photo by The Associated Press

ATLANTA — Matt Ryan played one series for the Atlanta Falcons. Most of Baltimore's starters didn't even bother suiting up.

This final exhibition game belonged to those guys fighting for roster spots.

John Beck threw for 232 yards with a pair of touchdown passes as the Ravens closed out the preseason with a 20-3 victory over the Falcons on Thursday night.

Atlanta used its offensive starters for one drive only, then turned it over to John Parker Wilson and D.J. Shockley, the contenders for third quarterback. Ryan completed his first two passes for 18 yards, Michael Turner carried twice for 12 yards and the Ravens jumped offside twice, putting the Falcons on the Baltimore 34.

But Ryan was sacked by Terrell Suggs, one of the few Baltimore regulars to get on the field, and Atlanta was forced to pooch a punt that backed up Baltimore to its own 9.

From there, Beck directed a 14-play drive that culminated with a 5-yard touchdown pass to fullback Jason Cook. The Ravens took advantage of Atlanta's suspect defense, especially the cornerbacks. Beck converted a pair of third-down passes against Chris Houston, Brett Grimes was penalized 26 yards for pass interference and Chevis Jackson was beaten on a 19-yard pass that set up the TD.

Beck clinched the lackluster game with just under 7 minutes to go, tossing a 15-yard touchdown pass to Eron Riley — a play that was set up by Beck's 47-yard pass to Riley. Both times, Riley beat rookie cornerback Christopher Owens, a third-round pick who also had a rough night in the secondary.

No wonder the Falcons dealt a seventh-round pick to St. Louis earlier in the week for cornerback Tye Hill, a former first-round choice who didn't pan out for the Rams. He didn't play in the preseason finale, but could quickly work his way up the Atlanta depth chart once the regular season begins.

Beck completed 16 of 28. Demetrius Williams hauled in five passes for 77 yards, and Riley accounted for 62 yards on five receptions. The Ravens' defense held the Falcons to 175 yards.

With Ryan's cameo out of the way, the Falcons turned it over to those battling for the third quarterback-clipboard holder spot.

Wilson, an undrafted rookie whose former college team, No. 5 Alabama, will be at the Dome on Saturday night to face seventh-ranked Virginia Tech, played the rest of the first half and part of the third quarter.

He completed 13 of 19 for 80 yards and directed Atlanta's only scoring drive near the end of the first half, resulting in Jason Elam's 45-yard field goal. Wilson got the Falcons into scoring position again on his last possession of the night, but Elam hooked a 35-yard attempt wide left.

Shockley, who hasn't done much in three years mostly spent as Atlanta's third QB, hardly improved the chances of hanging with his hometown team for another year. He entered to cheers from fans who still remember him leading Georgia to a Southeastern Conference title in 2005, but completed just 2 of 6 passes for 15 yards with a late interception.

Steve Hauschka rounded out Baltimore's scoring with field goals of 33 and 46 yards.

Friends to Follow social media