Thursday night's blowout loss to the Denver Broncos in the 2013 NFL season opener didn't look good for the Baltimore Ravens, but rookie Marlon Brown's debut shows that the Ravens have depth at wide receiver.
The game got ugly for the Ravens. They got routed 49-27 on national television, with the game recap coming courtesy of NFL.com, and Chris Wesseling of NFL.com reported that receiver/punt returner Jacoby Jones left the opener in the second quarter with a sprained right knee.
Baltimore was already looking for playmakers to step up on offense. Losing Jones forced Brown into important playing time.
The undrafted free agent out of Georgia had a quiet first half until his team started a drive with three minutes left in the second quarter looking to take a lead into halftime. He stepped up with back-to-back catches for 30 yards to get his team to midfield. The Ravens got a couple of more big plays and took a 17-14 lead at the break.
Brown also had a 22-yard catch at the end of the third quarter, but it was his next catch that had the biggest impact. Baltimore had gotten a brief chance to try to get back in the game, and quarterback Joe Flacco hit Brown for a 13-yard touchdown to make it a 42-24 game.
He ended the game with 65 receiving yards and a touchdown on four receptions.
With Jones leaving the contest with an injury, the Ravens needed someone to step up and show that the they have someone they can count on. That's exactly what Brown did.
The Ravens have Torrey Smith as their No. 1 receiver, and veteran Brandon Stokley signed with the team in the offseason. Smith, Stokley, Jones and Brown were the only wideouts to catch passes last night.
Brown played a key role in a couple of Baltimore's biggest drives of the game. He stepped up when his team needed him to give it a chance at winning.
He brings a few things to the offense. The 6'5" receiver gives the Ravens a big target. He creates mismatches against smaller corners, and Flacco will be able to utilize the receiver's big frame.
The 22-year-old uses his size and quickness to be a vertical threat. He will adjust to wherever his quarterback throws the football, so Flacco just needs to put the ball near his target.
Injuries plagued the rookie at Georgia. He had only 55 catches for 851 receiving yards and one touchdown in four seasons with the Bulldogs. He suffered shoulder, ankle and ACL injuries in college, so he will need to stay on the field in order to help his team.
Baltimore underwent a lot of changes in the offseason, and Brown will become a big part of the team's offense, especially if Jones misses more time.
The rookie showed big-play ability, as he had two catches of at least 20 yards, and he made a nice play in the end zone for a score. Check out his first career touchdown at NFL.com.
Brown had a strong preseason and was actually the starter on Thursday night. He got more snaps with Jones' injury, and he was able to capitalize on his opportunity. He got his first catch and his first touchdown.
Baltimore should be impressed with its rookie's performance, so look for Flacco to continue to get Brown involved in the offense. It was only his first game in the NFL, but Brown's performance gives the Ravens some depth at receiver behind Smith.
*All stats are courtesy of NFL.com.