Watching his first regular season game as Ravens General Manager, Eric DeCosta wanted a victory. He got that, and more.
DeCosta received a game ball in the locker room during a boisterous celebration following Baltimore’s 59-10 rout over the Miami Dolphins.
An offseason of acquiring talent paid immediate dividends for the Ravens’ first-year general manager, who took over for Ozzie Newsome, a Hall of Famer who is now the team’s executive vice president.
It’s a new season and several new players had impressive starts, most notably rookie wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, who will be forever linked to DeCosta as his first pick as general manager. Two veterans acquired during free agency also had stellar Ravens debuts -- running back Mark Ingram (14 carries, 107 yards, two touchdowns) and safety Earl Thomas III, who had an interception.
Head Coach John Harbaugh said it felt right to recognize DeCosta following the team’s first regular-season victory in his new role.
“Anytime you get your first win like that, and Eric’s first win as a GM, he got a game ball, it’s monumental, it’s something you cherish,” Harbaugh said. “Eric has been a big part of this from the beginning. Eric and Ozzie and all the scouts. Everybody. Dick Cass (Ravens president) is a big part of it. I just feel like we’ve been a team for quite a few years. I think Eric in his new role is thriving. Ozzie in his new role is thriving.”
The Ravens had this kind of performance in mind when they added speed and play-making ability to the 2019 roster. Those traits were fully on display during Sunday.
Brown was the most spectacular newcomer with four catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns. DeCosta appears to have hit on his first attempt at drafting a wide receiver, which could pay dividends for years to come. Brown had a coming out party, playing before family and friends who were in attendance from his nearby hometown of Hollywood, Fla. If this performance doesn’t make people excited about Brown’s potential as a big-play receiver, nothing will.
The Ravens' other rookie wide receiver, Miles Boykin, was a starter alongside Brown. Boykin, the third-round pick from Notre Dame, was targeted by just one pass, but it was a 5-yard touchdown.
“This is his beginning as well,” Harbaugh said. “For Marquise to come down here and come home, his first two catches were touchdowns. I don’t know if that’s been done, maybe it has. That’s pretty remarkable. That’s something to remember. That’s why he was picked, that’s why we have him. The ability to make big plays is huge, something we needed.”
Ingram almost took it to the house on his first carry, but settled for a 49-yard run that sparked the Ravens’ first touchdown drive. After nine seasons with the New Orleans Saints, Ingram was stoked to make a positive impression during his Ravens debut.
“It’s great, to come out and have a big game as a team, a group effort,” Ingram. “We just got to keep learning and keep building.”
Meanwhile, Thomas helped set the tone defensively with a first quarter interception off Ryan Fitzpatrick. It was the 29th interception of Thomas’ career, but his first with the Ravens and one he will surely remember.
After nine seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, including six Pro Bowl seasons, Thomas was acquired during free agency to bring his ball-hawking skill set to a Ravens defense that wanted to produce more turnovers. Thomas suffered a season-ending broken leg last season with the Seahawks, but he looked fully recovered Sunday, ranging far to his left to make a leaping interception.
“What a way to start the season, set the tempo for the game,” Thomas said. “I just kind of read the QB’s eyes. I saw the throw, saw the ball clearly. Thank God I was able to hang onto it.”
For some of the Ravens’ new talent, this was an impressive way to make an opening statement.
“That’s what Eric brought us in for,” Thomas said. “I think we did a great job.”
Check out the best photos from the Ravens' first regular season game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.