Humphrey productive as Ravens down Saints 14-13
By BRETT MARTEL
NEW ORLEANS (AP) The Baltimore Ravens got a better look at what first-round draft choice Marlon Humphrey can do when he's healthy.
They had to like what they saw.
Humphrey, drafted 16th overall out of Alabama last spring, forced a fumble, broke up a pass and made four tackles, and Baltimore beat the New Orleans Saints 14-13 in the preseason finale for both clubs Thursday night.
"I do feel a lot better now that I got a little game time," Humphrey said. "I was really happy that I was able to make a play and get that excitement going that I haven't had for a while."
Humphrey had missed two of the Ravens' first three preseason games and practice time in his first training camp because of apparently minor undisclosed injuries. But the cornerback looks ready to contribute to an already impressive-looking Baltimore defense.
"It looked like he played well," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "I saw a lot of good coverage. ... I saw a big hit."
Humphrey created a turnover with a heavy hit that dislodged the ball from running back Daniel Lasco. Linebacker Patrick Onwuasor recovered.
"They ran the play that I kind of had an idea they were going to run," Humphrey said. "I kind of get after it when I see things like that, so it was definitely a play I like to make."
Saints kicker Wil Lutz made two of four field goal attempts, having one blocked and narrowly missing a 59-yarder for the lead in the final seconds.
With most starters resting, the game represented a chance for reserves to solidify backup roles, or in some cases, roster spots.
Ravens quarterback Ryan Mallett completed three of eight passes in three offensive series, but his final throw was a touchdown strike over the middle to Chris Moore in tight coverage on fourth down. Bobby Rainey added a touchdown on a 2-yard end run to make it 14-0. That capped a 66-yard drive led by reserve QB Thad Lewis, who completed four passes and had a first-down scramble during the series.
But Lewis' performance was marred by a fumble when he was sacked by rookie Al-Quadin Muhammad, who finished his maiden preseason with four sacks. Second-year defensive tackle David Onyemata recovered.
Chase Daniel, aiming to reclaim his former job as quarterback Drew Brees' backup, threw a 16-yard scoring pass to tight end Josh Hill. The play highlighted an inconsistent night in which Daniel completed 11 of 19 passes for 103 yards and was intercepted by nose tackle Carl Davis, setting up the Ravens' first touchdown.
Late in the third quarter, the Saints made it 14-10 after defensive back Arthur Maulet, a New Orleans native trying to make the club, recovered a fumble he'd also forced by stripping punt returner and former Navy star Keenan Reynolds.
Saints starting center Max Unger, recovering from offseason foot surgery, played for the first time this preseason in the first quarter. He now appears healthy enough to start New Orleans' opener, a Monday night matchup at Minnesota.
His third snap of the game didn't go so well, though. Daniel couldn't handle it in shotgun formation and had to abort the play, leading to a punt.
"Max played really well. He's just such a good presence in the huddle," Daniel said. "He gives the line confidence because he's uber-focused. He's rearing to go. And this was good for him to get this burn before we obviously we go out Monday night (Sept. 11) and play a very difficult Vikings team."
Low trajectory was an intermittent problem for Lutz last season when he was a rookie, and was again during a failed 49-yard field goal attempt blocked by defensive lineman Patrick Ricard.
"I thought the kick never got 5 feet off the ground, honestly, from just looking at it live and not seeing the reply," Saints coach Sean Payton said.
Lutz had two field goals and a critical extra point blocked last season, but the Saints have stuck with him because of his leg strength and overall accuracy. Lutz was true on kicks from 28 and 48 yards.
Ravens: Cornerback Sheldon Price left with an apparent concussion. ... Onwuasor went down with what Baltimore officials described as a "stinger" in his shoulder and was later cleared to return.
Saints: Rookie safety Marcus Williams needed attention from trainers, but his injury was not clear or disclosed by the Saints. ... Running back Travaris Cadet appeared to have an upper body injury after a 25-yard reception in the final minute. ... Daniel had a walking boot on his right leg after the game for what he described as a twisted right ankle, the result of landing awkwardly after leaving his feet to throw the ball away under pressure.
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Updated September 1, 2017