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How Larry Fitzgerald Helped the Ravens Defense


Larry Fitzgerald is widely regarded as one of the NFL's best people – a former Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner.

Even though the Ravens only bump into him once every four years, Baltimore probably agrees with that assessment after Sunday's game.

Fitzgerald spoke to Ravens safety Tony Jefferson, who played with Fitzgerald for four seasons in Arizona, after Sunday's game about a play and gave him a little strategic insight that could help the Ravens moving forward.

"I talked to Larry after the game, and he told me some stuff," Jefferson told reporters when asked about the Ravens' lapses in the secondary. "They watch film, too."

So what did they talk about specifically?

"I asked him about a certain play, and since we don't play him … they're in a different [conference] … he let me know what he saw on that play," Jefferson said. "Thank you, Larry."

The "certain play" could have been a 54-yard wide-open catch and run by Fitzgerald. On the play, Fitzgerald lined up on the left side in a stacked formation next to wide receiver Damiere Byrd. When Byrd went deep, Jefferson provided help over the top for Anthony Averett. Brandon Carr, who was covering Fitzgerald, blitzed.

Earl Thomas III was caught between picking up Fitzgerald or taking Christian Kirk on a crossing pattern. Both players had nobody covering them and they crossed right in front of Thomas. Marlon Humphrey, who was lined up opposite Kirk, had dropped in zone coverage. Thomas took Kirk and Kyler Murray found Fitzgerald wide open.

Impressively, Jefferson reversed course and brought Fitzgerald down, but the long completion still helped set up a Cardinals touchdown that cut the Ravens' lead to just three points near the start of the fourth quarter.

"When you watch film, they look at bad plays and good plays and how to attack," Jefferson said. "Sometimes you're just caught off-guard with those type of things. There are some plays where we could have [been] in better position, communicated better. Those are things that you look back on, and you go to the film session tomorrow and get those fixed."

Fitzgerald finished with five catches for 104 yards. It's the first time since 2015 that the 36-year-old veteran has recorded back-to-back 100-yard games.

Especially after offering some help, the Ravens will probably wish him best of luck this season as he continues to outrun Father Time.

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