When the Ravens re-signed cornerback Shareece Wright to a three-year contract in March, it took some by surprise.
Baltimore doesn't bring back many of its free agents, but it invested in Wright.
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees said then that Wright was perhaps the defense's most consistent player over the second half of the season, when it led the NFL in pass defense.
And on Sunday, Wright picked up right where he left off. In an outstanding overall defensive performance, Wright stood out the most.
"Everybody got an eye-opener today of what he's all about," safety Eric Weddle said. "I couldn't be more proud of him. He's worked his tail off."
Wright logged a team-high 11 tackles. And those aren't the bad kind of tackles for a defensive back that indicate that a cornerback gave up a lot of receptions. Wright had three tackles for loss in the game, including two on the defense's momentum-starting first drive.
According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Wright gave up just four passes in coverage for a total of 13 yards. The wide receiver he most often was assigned to, Robert Woods, logged just one catch for 9 yards.
"Shareece was big-time today," Weddle said. "Not only covering his guys. You know, I played with Shareece for four years, and I know what type of player he is, how physical and tough he is, and the willing tackler that he is."
Wright was flying around the field making plays. His first tackle came for a 6-yard loss on running back LeSean McCoy on the second play of the game. McCoy thought he could backtrack and try to get the edge on Wright, but Wright's speed closed him down.
On the very next play, Wright sniffed out a screen pass and blew it up for a 4-yard loss. The Bills' opening drive began at the 32-yard line and ended at their own 24, thanks to Wright.
His biggest play, however, came in the third quarter. The Ravens were hanging onto a three-point lead and the Bills were on the move at midfield. Facing a third-and-2, Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor tried a jet sweep around the left side and had blockers in front.
Out of seemingly nowhere, Wright burst through the defense and took down Taylor for a 2-yard loss.
"That was a huge play in the game.," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "For Shareece to come right through there, because it looked like he had a little space there, he was well blocked. He made a guy miss and knifed through there and up in to Tyrod."
The 5-foot-11, 184-pound cornerback isn't known for his run defense. He finished last year with 40 tackles.
"I do whatever I can," Wright said. "Whatever I can to help this team win. I was in position to make tackles, and we emphasized that, making tackles on McCoy and being able to get those guys down and eliminate big plays."
Wright and his high school teammate, Jimmy Smith, spoke on the post-game podium together. Smith had a standout game too as he shadowed Bills receiver Sammy Watkins and gave up three catches for 35 yards, per PFF.
But Sunday's defensive most valuable player honors went to Wright.
"I think today, just a big game out of Shareece," Smith said. "So, you know, the question marks somewhat have been answered a little bit in this first game."