BALTIMORE -- Matt Ryan used the final preseason game to get a feel for being the Atlanta Falcons starting quarterback.
Joe Flacco hoped his performance Thursday night showed why he should start for the Baltimore Ravens.
In a game featuring the top two quarterbacks selected in the 2008 NFL Draft, Ryan and the Falcons got the better of Flacco and the Ravens 10-9.
Ryan, the third overall pick, went 2-for-7 for 17 yards before taking a seat. The former Boston College star finished the preseason 34-for-59 for 294 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
His next start will be in the regular-season opener Sept. 7 against Detroit.
"I prepared really hard during the course of training camp and during the duration of the preseason. I feel like I'm prepared and ready to go for next week," Ryan said. "I've gotten better in terms of understanding the offense, being more familiar with what we're trying to do as a team and what's expected of the quarterback position."
The Falcons got only one first down during his two series against the Ravens, but Ryan had no complaints.
"We'd have liked to have done some things better," he said, "but we did some things well and we can build on it and get ready for next week."
Flacco, the 18th player selected in the draft, was 8-for-13 for 72 yards. He left early in the second quarter after directing a 63-yard drive that produced a field goal for a 3-0 lead.
Flacco started a second successive week because Troy Smith was still ailing from infected tonsils and Kyle Boller is nursing a serious shoulder injury that could keep him sidelined for several weeks. First-year coach John Harbaugh still hasn't decided upon his starter for the opener against Cincinnati, but Flacco might get the call by default.
"Even if we planned to name a starter, we couldn't right now," Harbaugh said. "We'll find out more about Kyle in the next couple of days. We don't know about Troy. We'll see what the next few days bring."
With Flacco running the offense, the Ravens made five first downs. On his scoring drive, the former Delaware standout went 3-for-4 for 40 yards.
After two preseason games, Flacco was a decisive No. 3 in the quarterback competition. Now, he's right in the middle of the mix.
"I think I've done a pretty good job," he said. "I don't think anybody would have thought this was going to happen a couple weeks ago. I mean, it's pretty crazy for (Smith) to get sick and something to happen to somebody's shoulder, but I've done what I've been asked."
Ravens veteran receiver Derrick Mason said, "I wouldn't be surprised if they said he was the starter. He's played well. He's done the things they've asked him to do, especially as a rookie guy."
One week earlier, Flacco had to play the entire game against the St. Louis Rams because Smith and Boller were unavailable. The Ravens signed free agent Casey Bramlet hours before this game and used him over the final three periods.
Bramlet went 7-for-21 for 100 yards and two interceptions. He played last season for the Miami Dolphins under Cam Cameron, who is now Baltimore's offensive coordinator.
D.J. Shockley replaced Ryan and threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Brian Finneran with 20 seconds left in the first half. It turned out to be the only TD in a lackluster contest dominated by both defenses.
"I was pleased again with our defense," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "We were able to keep that football team out of the end zone. That puts us 13 straight quarters without giving up an offensive touchdown."
Third-string running back Jason Snelling had 88 yards rushing for Atlanta (2-2), which finished the preseason with a two-game winning streak.
Matt Stover kicked field goals of 25, 31 and 48 yards for the Ravens (1-3).