The defending Super Bowl champs began the 2013 preseason on a high note.
The Ravens blew out the Buccaneers 44-16 Thursday night, riding backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor's arm throughout the second half.
Taylor finished the game 13-23 for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Both of his touchdowns were aided by tough catches made by receivers LaQuan Williams and Aaron Mellette.
Williams' touchdown came early in the third quarter from 21 yards out. Taylor lofted a pass to the back of the end zone, which Williams had to jump up and bring in, holding on through his fall to the turf.
That was Williams' second touchdown of the game as he recovered a blocked punt from rookie Brynden Trawick near the end of the first half in the end zone.
Mellette's touchdown came in the fourth quarter with 8:10 remaining. Also from 21 yards out, Taylor threw a jump ball to the rookie, who leaped over a Tampa Bay defender to grab the pass.
By that point, the game was 41-16 and out of hand.
With 1:54 remaining, kicker Justin Tucker banged a 57-yard field goal off the crossbar and through the uprights.
Though Baltimore ran away with the game, the first-team offense struggled some in the first quarter. Joe Flacco completed seven of nine passes for 57 yards but threw an interception to Buccaneers cornerback Danny Gorrer.
The first team was held scoreless as Baltimore didn't put any points on the board until the 10:42 mark in the second quarter, when Bernard Pierce scampered in for a 20-yard touchdown run. Pierce was injured on the play, though he was able to jog off the field.
The Ravens will resume practice in Owings Mills, Md. on Saturday. Their next preseason game is in a week against Atlanta at M&T Bank Stadium.
Follow me on twitter: @JasonHButt
Ravens 44, Buccaneers 16
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