Marquise Brown's 24-yard touchdown catch in the back of the end zone Thursday night displayed many of his talents.
He had the speed to get behind the New York Jets' defense, the body control to keep his feet inbounds while making the catch, the ability to track down a lofted throw from Lamar Jackson that could have been misjudged, the soft hands to secure the ball once it was within his grasp.
It was the rookie first-round pick's first touchdown pass in three games, and a potential sign of more to come.
Brown has already proven that he's an NFL playmaker as a rookie, second on the team in touchdown catches (seven) behind tight end Mark Andrews (eight).
Brown also tied the Ravens' franchise record for most touchdown catches by a rookie. Torrey Smith (2011) and Marlon Brown (2013) also had seven. And Brown has done it despite fighting through a foot and other injuries that Brown says have him below 100 percent.
On his latest touchdown, Brown was more willing to give credit than to take it.
"[Lamar] threw a great ball in the back of the end zone, and I just had to make a play," he said. "I made a similar play like that when I was in junior college, the same as that."
The chemistry between Brown and Jackson is excellent both on and off the field. They are close friends and Jackson has quickly learned to trust Brown's ability to make a play. Opponents have made it a priority to contain Brown as a deep threat, and he was bottled up by the Buffalo Bills (three catches, -2 yards) in Week 14. Watching Brown return to the end zone was a welcomed sight for Baltimore's offense.
"He's fast. I just throw it, he's just going to go and get it," Jackson said. "I believe in him 100 percent."
Ravens Feasting Off Takeways
The Ravens have 22 takeaways this season, 12 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries, tied with Tampa Bay for fifth-most in the league. Ravens safety Chuck Clark had an interception near the end of the first half Thursday that cost New York a scoring opportunity. Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser had a strip/sack in the third quarter that was recovered by Jihad Ward, setting up Brown's touchdown catch.
Head Coach John Harbaugh believes Baltimore's ability to force turnovers has been a key to their 10-game winning streak. There have been several signature turnover moments during the streak, like Marlon Humphrey's punch out and recovery in overtime in Pittsburgh, and Marcus Peters' pick six in Seattle.
The Ravens' plus-10 takeaway/giveaway ratio is sixth best in the NFL.
"The turnover differential is the No. 1 stat that affects winning and losing," Harbaugh said. "We always feel that way. We had a goal for a really high number this year. We aren't really there where we wanted to be, but we're pretty darn good. Our defense has done a great job. Offensively, we've really protected the ball well the last number of weeks. That's big. We have to keep doing a good job of that."
Hurst Solid Starting at Left Tackle
The Ravens' offense kept rolling against the Jets with James Hurst making his first start of the season at left tackle in place of Ronnie Stanley (concussion).
In his sixth season with the Ravens after making the team as an undrafted free agent, Hurst is valued for his versatility and experience, and he delivered in a situation where the Ravens needed him. Hurst started 10 games last season and 16 the year before, but has served as the team's top backup tackle this year.
"It's a long season and the weeks go on and you don't get any reps, it's tough to stay locked in," Hurst said. "But that's part of my job is being the next tackle in. You've got to stay sharp and be ready for this exact moment. I'm really excited I got the opportunity and I feel pretty about it."
Hurst played all 62 offensive snaps, which tied him for the team lead, and he did an excellent job with both pass protection and run blocking. Jackson was sacked just once and Baltimore rushed for 218 yards, averaging 6.4 yards per carry.
"I'm looking forward to seeing the tape on James, but [I] felt like he played well," Harbaugh said. "I didn't see any problems, which is good for an offensive lineman. He looked pretty good. I thought the whole offensive line played really well."
Weekend Off Gives Ravens Chance to Refresh
The Ravens will enjoy having this weekend off after Thursday night's victory. It will provide an opportunity for injured players to heal, and for the entire team to regroup.
Baltimore's next game is away against the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 22, and the team won't hit the practice field again until Wednesday.
"We're going to take advantage of it this late in the year," Harbaugh said. "We're going to give the guys off until next Tuesday. We won't practice until next Wednesday. So, we're going to try to take full advantage of it, recovery-wise, both emotionally and physically, and try to heal up and be at full strength against the Browns."