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Rashod Bateman Feels He's 'Getting Back to His Old Self, Maybe Even Better'

WR Rashod Bateman
WR Rashod Bateman

When Lamar Jackson's pass came out as he was hit on the Ravens' opening drive in Arizona, it looked like it could have been picked off. If that happened, with the Cardinals already off to a fast start with a seven-point lead, who knows how the rest of the game goes in Arizona.

Instead, Rashod Bateman cut in front of the Cardinals cornerback and snatched the catch away for a 29-yard gain, the Ravens scored a touchdown four plays later, and went on to win.

Bateman only caught two passes in the game, and had a long jet sweep run, but plays like that are getting the Ravens' third-year former first-round receiver going.

Bateman played 62% of the offensive snaps against the Cardinals in Week 8, his heaviest workload since he returned in Week 4 from a hamstring injury.

The third-year wide receiver is healthier than he has been at any point this season, and it's showing. After spending months recovering from last year's season-ending Lisfranc foot surgery, Bateman is relieved to be practicing and playing with freedom.

"It feels good. I feel I'm getting back to my old self, maybe even better than I was before," Bateman said. "I feel like we're heading the right direction.

"I haven't lost confidence in myself. Just taking advantage of all the opportunities that I get."

With one game missed, Bateman ranks fifth on the Ravens in targets (20) behind Zay Flowers, Mark Andrews, Odell Beckham Jr., and Nelson Agholor.

"We know what 'Bate' is capable of. He just needs more opportunities, I believe," Jackson said Wednesday.

Bateman was targeted twice on Sunday and made the most of it with two catches for 29 yards, and he also gained 18 yards on a jet sweep with 15 yards tacked onto the run when the Cardinals were penalized for a late hit.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday that he thinks the second half of the year "is going to be big" for Bateman. The third-year wide receiver plans to make Harbaugh look prophetic.

"It's always feels good to hear your head coach say that, but I'm just happy to be back on the field and doing my job," Bateman said. "We'll see where it goes."

Harbaugh Says Ravens Have 'Everything We Need' Following Quiet Trade Deadline

The Ravens didn't make a trade before Tuesday's deadline, and Harbaugh feels perfectly fine with that decision with Baltimore (6-2) tied for best record in the AFC and riding a three-game winning streak.

Harbaugh said the Ravens explored some options but are very comfortable with the roster they have.

"There were possibilities," Harbaugh said. "I thought Eric [DeCosta] and the guys did a great job working on different things that maybe could come up. I'm sure there were hundreds of things talked about across the league. We were involved in different kinds of conversations, but nothing came to fruition.

"I think our guys know how we feel about them. We're not in desperate mode. We have a really good roster like I talked about Monday. I love our guys. We have everything we need. Our guys had a great practice today. We're looking forward to Sunday. That's really what we're thinking about."

Jackson Feels Odell Beckham Jr.'s First Ravens Touchdown is Coming Soon

Jackson talked about Odell Beckham drawing two pass inference penalties and a holding penalty against the Cardinals. One of the interference calls occurred in the end zone, denying Beckham a chance for his first touchdown in a Ravens' uniform, but Jackson thinks Beckham won't have to wait much longer.

"They're holding him. But I believe they have to," Jackson said. "OBJ, he's going to catch the ball, so they have to do their best to keep him away from the ball. They're doing a good job of it right now, but he's going to get on the scoreboard. I believe it's happening fast. It's going to come. It's going to happen."

Jackson said he will continue distributing the ball to receivers based on his reads and won't try forcing the ball to anyone.

"I'm just trying to do my best to put points on the board," Jackson said. "It's hard to pinpoint exactly like, 'He needs to get the ball here.' It's within the play. I go through my progression and (if) the guy is open, he's going to get the ball."

Ravens Will Be Wary of Seattle's Wide Receiver Driven Offense

The Seahawks have three wide receivers who have been targeted at least 36 times – DK Metcalf (27 catches, 404 yards, two touchdowns), Tyler Lockett (35 catches, 370 yards, three touchdowns) and rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba (23 catches, 209 yards, two touchdowns).

That gives plenty of options to quarterback Geno Smith, and cornerback Marlon Humphrey said that he and opposite starting cornerback Brandon Stephens will be tested.

"It will be a big week for me and B. Steve," Humphrey said. "This team throws to their outside guys more than anybody. The team's performance will kind of rely on the corners."

All three of Seattle's top receivers can turn short throws into big plays by breaking tackles and making defenders miss once they catch the ball.

"They have the young Ohio St. Buckeye in there (Smith-Njigba); screens, underneath routes, take off on a double move," Harbaugh said. "Metcalf is just kind of a beast out there. Lockett just continues, no change. As long as he's played, he's still the same player he was his first couple of years. Those are all people we have to contend with."

Jackson Doesn't Want to Hear His Record vs. NFC Opponents

Jackson extended his record against NFC teams to 17-1 with back-to-back wins against NFC opponents. He'll try to go for three straight this Sunday against the Seahawks, but he doesn't want to hear about it.

With a laugh, Jackson covered his ears and cut off a reporter's question about the record on Wednesday.

"Bro, we're playing football," Jackson said. "It's not about NFC or AFC. I'm trying to win regardless. I don't even want to put that in my head or let you finish that question."

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