Just a few days later,
The Ravens second-year cornerback found out last Wednesday that he would be the team’s nickel back against Eli Manning and the New York Giants. Brown had played sparingly in recent weeks, but the coaching staff gave him a chance to assert himself as the No. 3 cornerback, hoping to beat out veteran
Brown responded with arguably the best game of his career, as the Ravens stifled the Giants offense in the 33-14 victory.
“I stepped up on a big stage, center stage,” Brown said. “Once they called my number, it’s time to play.”
Brown played 33 of the 48 defensive snaps – his highest percentage of the season (69 percent) – and he was part of a secondary that held Manning to 150 passing yards on the day.
He also led the Ravens with four passes defensed and came up with two tackles on the day.
“I can feel a difference. It got my confidence up,” Brown said. “I feel comfortable.”
Head Coach John Harbaugh has also noticed a difference in Brown’s confidence.
“Chykie played really well,” Harbaugh said. “Chykie continues to get better every single week. I think he’s really starting to gain some confidence.”
Harbaugh said that he met with Brown recently to talk about some specific plays that didn’t look right on tape, and he was impressed with the way Brown explained what he was thinking in those specific situations.
“He’s getting to the point now as a player where he can explain and articulate why he’s doing things, what he saw, or what he thought the defense called for. And they make sense,” Harbaugh said. “He’s starting to really think about the game out there and that’s good to see in a young corner.”
Brown played tight coverage throughout the game against some of the NFL’s elite receivers in Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. He was physical in coverage, and didn’t let the Giants’ targets run free in the secondary.
It was a strong showing for the former fifth-round draft pick, and could solidify him as the team’s nickel back down the stretch.
Injuries have forced the Ravens to rotate players through the nickel role, as Graham, Smith and Johnson have all worked as the No. 3 corner. Smith returned from a sports hernia procedure in Week 15, but he isn’t back to full strength yet and only played special teams Sunday.
With Brown healthy and playing at a high level, he could have the edge on that spot heading into the playoffs.
“Anybody who gets a chance to get an opportunity like this, they say to take advantage of your time because it doesn’t come often,” Brown said. “The chance they give me, I just thank God.”
A number of defenders praised Brown after the game, including veteran leader
“I told Chykie to keep building,” Reed said. “Even though he is a young guy, he has a lot to build on. We just have to keep growing, get better.”