Tuesday Night Football started on the wrong foot for Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown. On the Ravens' first drive against the Dallas Cowboys, Jackson's pass bounced off Brown's outstretched arm and was intercepted. It seemed to encapsulate their difficulties for much of the season.
But then, as the Ravens looked to put away the Cowboys in the third quarter, Jackson and Brown showed exactly why they can be so dangerous at any time.
With the Ravens leading by a touchdown, Jackson scrambled to his left and Brown broke off his route and turned up to the end zone. On the move, Jackson dropped a gem over Brown's shoulder. Brown did an excellent job of tracking the ball and dragging his feet in the corner of the end zone.
It was perhaps the most beautiful throw and catch of the Ravens' season, and one that could ignite the connection between Baltimore's two most explosive offensive players.
"I feel like he did all the work," Jackson said. "He had a route, the play broke down in the backfield, he turned that up, turned off, just made a great catch and got his feet down. That was all him. Just grateful we connected on one. Got to keep it going."
Brown's biggest play of the season before Tuesday night's game was a 70-yard touchdown last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But that came from the arm of Trace McSorley when Jackson was on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Jackson and Brown hadn't completed more than three passes in a game since Oct. 18 against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Ravens offense has needed them to break out to get on track and open up other areas of the field.
Brown finished with five catches for 39 yards on a team-high eight targets. He had more than twice as many targets as any other Raven. It's clear that the two still have a lot of faith in each other, and the chemistry they've shown as Broward County kids is coming through.
"Simple hitch route. First read-type route. I saw him go right and when he scrambled left, that's when we get in scramble mode," Brown said. "He delivered a great pass. If you don't come down with that one, you can't say too much."
Brown wasn't the only Ravens receiver to have a big touchdown catch. Miles Boykin hadn't been targeted by a pass in a month before he hauled in a 38-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give Baltimore a lead that it never relinquished.
"It was a great scheme. They put me one on one with the safety, and the safety had to choose between me or Marquise. He picked Marquise, and it left me open, and [I] just had to make a catch," Boykin said.
"Lamar made a great throw. It's huge. The way this team has been playing, we've been playing so hard with no results. All that matters is winning in the NFL, so these past couple of weeks, it doesn't matter how hard we've been playing, but to finally just get over that hump and get a win feels great for this team."
It's been a challenging year for Boykin, who had big expectations entering the season but had just 14 receptions for 153 yards and one touchdown entering the game. Boykin also flashed open in the back of the end zone later in the game, but Jackson missed him.
Now the Ravens will hope both Brown and Boykin can use their touchdowns as a launching point for a strong finish to their sophomore seasons.
"I just feel like the whole team played lights out tonight," Jackson said.