ATLANTA The Ravens first-team offense opened up with a no-huddle approach Thursday night and went nowhere fast, going three-and-out on three straight series.
But the unit finally got going early in the second quarter, moving 77 yards to a touchdown in 11 plays, with quarterback Joe Flacco hitting Ed Dickson for a touchdown.
Flacco was taken out of the game after those four series and reserves took over.
The Ravens have higher expectations for their offense in 2012 with Flacco and Ray Rice entering their fifth pro seasons, but Thursdays first look was far from positive.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons starting offense drove 80 yards to a touchdown on its first possession and 85 yards to a touchdown early in the second quarter. The Falcons had nine first downs and 191 yards of offense in the first quarter, and the Ravens had nine yards of offense.
Rookie linemen start
Rookie offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Gino Gradkowski might not start once the Ravens are playing games that count this year, but they earned starts in their first-ever appearances as the Ravens opened the 2012 preseason Thursday night.
Osemele was at right tackle and Gradkowski was at center when quarterback Joe Flacco and the first-team offense took the field.
Attending my first ever NFL game and Im the starting Right Tackle talk about front row seats! Osemele tweeted two hours before the game.
The team went with its Plan B alignment, featuring Michael Oher at left tackle and Osemele on the right side, because Bryant McKinnie the expected starter at left tackle reported later to training camp and is still playing catch-up.
If the tea decides that McKinnie is in shape to handle the job for a second straiht year, he will step in at left tackle, Oher will move back to the right side and Osemele will become a backup.
Gradkowski, a fourth-round pick from Delaware, almost surely will step aside for veteran Matt Birk, who was held out of Thursdays game, once the regular season begins.
Plenty of scratches
More than a dozen Ravens were scratched from the game, including Birk, Ray Lewis and the teams top 2012 draft pick, linebacker Courtney Upshaw, who missed more than a week of practice with a bruised shoulder.
Not strapping up tonight got to wait till I'm back in M&T to showcase my skills, Upshaw tweeted before the game. For my real fans know that I want to be out there no matter what but I have to be smart and we they allow me back I will be ready!!
Upshaws time on the Georgia Dome playing surface was limited to a regimen of sprints two hours before kickoff.
Other than Lewis and Birk, who were given the night off, the following players were scratched because of injuries: WRs Patrick Williams, David Reed, and Tandon Doss, CB Jimmy Smith, RB Bernard Pierce, LBs Courtney Upshaw, Josh Bynes and Darryl Blackstock, OT Jah Reid, TE Dennis Pitta and DE Arthur Jones.
Albert McClellan replaced Upshaw in the starting lineup, while Brendon Ayanbadejo replaced Lewis.
Replacement refs on the field
With the NFLs regular officials locked in a labor dispute with the league, replacement refs worked Thursdays game. The lead official, Craig Ochoa, also worked the Hall of Fame game last weekend.
Who is Craig Ochoa? An Ohio businessman and highway commissioner described on his townships website as a 26 year veteran professional football and basketball referee working mostly in the Big 10 Football Conference and the Arena League.