Rams 31, Ravens 17
at Edward Jones Dome
ST. LOUIS -- Not much should be read into this loss as no Ravens player on the fringe made a strong case for making the final cut now that preseason is over.
Coach Jim Harbaugh rested most of his starters in last year's preseason finale, too, so his decision wasn't a surprise. He only used four projected starters against the Rams' first-team, but he could be seen badgering his team on the sideline for its sloppy play from start to finish.
While the offense initially moved the ball well under backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, it failed to score with him in the game and gave up a costly fumble inside its own 10-yard line as the deficit grew to 14-0 after the first quarter. Curtis Painter relieved Taylor in the second half and tossed three interceptions.
Rookie lineman Kelechi Osemele, who is projected to start at guard, was in the lineup at right tackle. He was joined by projected starters at linebacker Paul Kruger and Albert McClellan and defensive back Cary Williams.
Bernard Pierce, who has a firm grip on the No. 2 running back spot, averaged nine yards on his first three carries as the Ravens moved the ball to St. Louis' 41-yard line until the drive stalled.
A breakdown of what happened for the Ravens:
Player of the game: Vacant.
Telltale stat: Four turnovers and no sacks of the Rams' QBs.
Turning point: Taylor was hit from behind and stripped with the Ravens on their on 14. Robert Quinn was credited with the sack, the strip and recovery that gave the Rams a 14-point lead to put the game out of reach early.
Highlights: Osemele played right tackle where he was matched against Rams defensive end Chris Long. He kept him off the quarterback, not allowing a sack. ... Deonte Thompson was solid returning kicks on special teams and had a difficult 11-yard TD catch across the middle in the fourth quarter. He finished with six receptions for 68 yards.
Lowlights: It was a dreadful showing by Brendon Ayanbadejo as his decision-making and ability to close out plays. He was sucked inside on third-and-2 and allowed Steven Jackson to get wide for a first down. He whiffed on a few tackles on one drive alone and allowed a 23-yard gain on a touchdown drive by the Rams by going for the strip rather than the tackle. ... Ayanbadejo, Nigel Carr and Paul Kruger were beaten on routes underneath for touchdown throws by Sam Bradford. ... Sergio Kindle was called for a roughing the passer when he hit Bradford long after he threw the ball on 3rd and 15. That led to an automatic first down and three plays later a 21-0 deficit. ... Justin Tucker missed his first field goal of the preseason since winning the job earlier this week from Billy Cundiff. The kick sailed wide left from 57 yards. ... Playing left tackle, Cord Howard was beaten badly on the edge, allowing the sack of Taylor that caused the fumble. ... Giving up a 46-yard catch to Steve Smith, cornerback Jimmy Smith fell down and then stopped playing after the catch. The receiver eventually fell, too, but he wasn't tackled and still inbounds. ... After Curtis Painter overthrew Bobby Rainey for an interception by Craig Dahl, Dorian Graham stripped Dahl and recovered the ball for Baltimore. Then Painter throws a high pass that deflects off the 5-foot-8 Rainey's hands and is picked off by Janoris Jenkins and returned 76 yards for a touchdown. ... The kickoff coverage remains inadequate as Rainey was drawn inside and sealed with a block that allowed Chris Givens to return the ball to the Rams' 36 and an offsides penalty advanced it to the 41.
Nice recovery: After being called for 35-yard pass interference call that put the ball in the red zone in the second quarter, Danny Gorrer intercepted Rams backup QB Kellen Clemens.
Notable: Anthony Allen, after being virtually ignored in the previous two games and playing just special teams, got five carries in the second half in front of undrafted rookie Damien Berry who played special teams until the fourth quarter when he had a 10-yard rush.
Up next: Harbaugh will cut down his roster to 53 players on Friday.