The tone for the evening was set when Thomas Lewis fumbled the opening kickoff.
You can't expect much from an opening preseason game, and the Ravens and Giants didn't provide much.
They made the typical mistakes -- fumbles, offside penalties, dropped passes, missed tackles and even a safety -- that are usually the signature of such a game.
The Giants rallied in the second half to win, 21-20, on Brad Daluiso's 29-yard field goal at the two-minute warning, but it's difficult to know how much weight to give that. After all, the Ravens beat the Giants, 37-27, in the preseason last year while going 3-1, but then struggled through a 4-12 regular season. The Giants also played Tyrone Wheatley in the fourth quarter, and it helps that their backup quarterback, Danny Kanell, is better than starter Dave Brown.
In a reprise of so many games they played last year, the Ravens blew it on the final play when Quentin Neujahr made a bad snap to ruin a 37-yard field-goal attempt on the final play of the game.
It was a positive sign for the Ravens that rookies Jay Graham and Tyrus McCloud stood out, but that was offset by the shaky play of rookie linebackers Cornell Brown, filling in for holdout Peter Boulware, and second-round pick Jamie Sharper, who both struggled.
The fans, meanwhile, seemed to understand how meaningless first preseason games are. The Ravens announced the attendance at 53,268, but several thousand appeared to be cleverly disguised as empty seats. Of the fans who did attend, thousands walked out by the fourth quarter, even though the score was close.
Highlights and lowlights of a forgettable preseason opener: Sloppy play: The Giants had a 164-152 edge in yardage in the first half, during which the regulars played extensively, but trailed 17-11 at halftime because they misfired on their first three series. After Lewis fumbled on the opening kickoff, Wheatley fumbled on the second play of their second series and quarterback Brown fumbled on the third play of their third series, forcing a punt. But the Ravens fumbled the ball away twice in the second half.
Stepping up: Graham, a third-round pick from Tennessee who looked sharp in training camp, was drafted as a third-down back. He looks like he can do a lot more than that.
A force: Tyrus McCloud, a fourth-round pick from Louisville, was supposed to be the best pure linebacker in the draft and he lived up to that billing while filling in for the ailing Ray Lewis. He had five tackles and a sack and broke up a pass in the first half.
Testaverde file: Quarterback Vinny Testaverde had a good touch for a first preseason game, completing eight of 11 passes in the first half for 98 yards and a touchdown, a 21-yard strike to Derrick Alexander. But Testverde made two of his typical mistakes, waiting too long to throw it away in the end zone and getting called for a safety and lofting a pass into the end zone into double coverage that was almost intercepted.
Leverage: Boulware continued his holdout, but had a good day. Cornell Brown showed he's not ready to step in for him and the Seattle Seahawks gave his negotions a boost by signing No. 3 pick Shawn Springs to a contract with $4.2 million in voidables, escalator clauses and incentives on top of a seven-year $15.8 million deal for a $20 million total. Now the Ravens have to decide if they want to go for the voidables or stand firm until the regular season starts when Boulware can't afford to miss the real checks.
Struggling: Jamie Sharper, the fourth player picked on the second round and the 34th player selected overall, showed he needs a lot of work as he failed to make a tackle in the first half and was taken out on third downs.
Not ready: Brown fell to the sixth round in the draft because of his off-the-field problems, but he had on-the-field problems in this game. He was caught out of position and missed tackles.
Light duty -- Bam Morris got only five carries, gaining 17 yards, as the Ravens gave Graham a long look.
Good form: Derrick Alexander picked up where he left off last year, catching four passes for 49 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown reception, and a one-handed grab. This could be the start of a Pro Bowl year for Alexander.
Costly mistake: Rookie free agent Priest Holmes made some good runs, but then fumbled at the goal line midway in the fourth quarter to kill a Ravens drive. Young players trying to make the team can't afford those kind of mistakes.
Another mistake: Jermaine Lewis, fighting to get the No. 3 receiving job, didn't help himself when he fumbled after making a first down catch on the Ravens' first drive of the third period. It was his third catch.
Backup: Eric Zeier, who's in his third season, played with the backups in the second half in place of Testaverde and made some nice throws, but had two of his first three drives killed by the Lewis and Holmes fumbles. But he made a key fourth down pass to set up the game-winning field goal.