The Ravens trailed Cleveland by six points on their opening drive of the second half Sunday.
Quarterback Joe Flacco dropped back to pass on third-and-eight, looking for one of his receivers to make a play and extend the drive. He found veteran receiver Brandon Stokley open for an 11-yard gain. Stokley picked up the first down, and two plays later the Ravens scored on a short run by Bernard Pierce.
Stokley kept the drive alive, which is the kind of play the Ravens envisioned when they signed him this summer.
"That's kind of what's kept me in the league for a long time," the 14-year veteran said Wednesday. "I pride myself at doing well at that. That's why I'm here."
Through the first two games of the season, Stokley has shown to be a valuable third-down target. He leads the Ravens with six catches on third down, and last week he was targeted five times on third down plays. Stokley caught four of those passes and three of them resulted in first downs.
"We have high hopes for Brandon as a third-down chain mover," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "He was that [Sunday], and that's something. He made some huge plays for us."
In a year where the Ravens' receiving corps has gone through a significant transition – and also some early-season struggles – Stokley's consistency has been important. He's a sure-handed receiver that knows how to find the open spots in the defense.
The Ravens have speed and size on the outside with Torrey Smith, Marlon Brown and Jacoby Jones (when he returns), but Stokley filled the void as someone who can work the middle of the field for short gains.
"My job is to try to help keep the chains moving, and make plays to extend drives," Stokley said. "That's kind of my role here. I'm just trying to do a good job at it."
Stokley has eight catches for 70 yards this season, which puts him as just the fifth leading receiver on the Ravens. But Stokley's six third-down catches rank fifth in the NFL, and that's exactly what the Ravens want from him.
"To have that type of a weapon is really important," Harbaugh said.