It appears Rashod Bateman could be in store for a big role down the stretch in Baltimore.
The Ravens fell to the Cleveland Browns, 24-22, in a game riddled with Baltimore injuries. The good news is young players stepped up across the board.
Here are the takeaways from Baltimore's snap counts (full list below):
- After seeing his snap count dip under 50% the past two weeks, and having his first game without a catch in Pittsburgh, Bateman got much heavier usage in Cleveland. His 48 snaps (65%) were the second-most he's had this season and more than twice as many as veteran wide receiver Sammy Watkins (23, 31%). Bateman responded with his first career 100-yard game.
- It's unclear if something happened to Watkins that limited him to so few snaps. That was his lowest percentage since Week 5 against Indianapolis, when he left the game early because of a thigh injury. Watkins was targeted twice and didn't have a catch for the first time this season.
- Devonta Freeman continues to take the clear lead role among the running backs with 49 snaps (66%). Freeman's snap percentages have gone up the past two weeks while Latavius Murray's opportunities have gone in the other direction. Murray was used as the goal-line back and plunged in for a 1-yard touchdown in Cleveland, however.
- Wide receiver/returner Devin Duvernay saw the second-highest percentage of snaps (66%) that he's gotten all season. He played 88% against the Colts after Watkins went down. Duvernay's five targets were the third-most he's seen this year.
- There was a lot of talk all week about who would replace Marlon Humphrey between Chris Westry, Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young. The clear answer ended up being Westry, who had 80% of the snaps. Anthony Averett played all but one. Kevon Seymour, who was elevated from the practice squad, got a healthy 16 snaps (25%) while Young saw just 20 snaps (31%) in part because the Browns don't use a lot of three wide receiver formations. Smith didn't make the trip because of the birth of a child, so this still will change in the next game against Green Bay.
- Defensive lineman Calais Campbell played just six snaps before suffering his thigh injury. Considering he missed the previous game against the Browns because of a lingering concussion, Campbell was sidelined for pretty much all of the two matchups against the top rushing attack in the league and the Ravens run defense still held up well.
- With Campbell sidelined, two young defensive tackles showed their chops. Justin Madubuike played 50 snaps (77%), which was the second-most all season. Fellow second-year defensive lineman Broderick Washington Jr. played by far the most snaps he's seen all year (40, 62%) and made a career-high three tackles. He had his first career sack wiped off when Head Coach John Harbaugh challenged the fumble (recovered by Cleveland ahead of the line of scrimmage) and it was ruled an incomplete pass.
- Inside linebacker Patrick Queen's improved play has resulted in more opportunities. For the second straight week, he lined up for 55 snaps (85%). He averaged below 50% for a four-week stretch in midseason but has worked his way back to where he was at the start of the year.
- Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser played a season-high 60 snaps (92%) as he continues to be relied upon as a three-down force.