Even in a losing effort, the Ravens still had some clutch play from a handful of overlooked players
The Baltimore Ravens lost their season opener to the Las Vegas Raiders in a dramatic, heartbreaking fashion. This piece will highlight players who flew under the radar on Monday night, the unsung heroes.
DB Brandon Stephens
The Ravens only had three rookies active for this game after not dressing Ben Cleveland and Daelin Hayes as healthy scratches. While Stephens didn’t have as impressive of a debut as Odafe Oweh, he made his fair share of plays including one that allowed the Ravens to nearly pull off a miracle.
Despite allowing a pair of long receptions, the first-year defensive back came up clutch in overtime. He brought down Raiders wide receiver Bryan Edwards half a yard short of the end zone for what was originally called the game-winning score after Chris Westry allowed a 32-yard reception.
WHAT A PLAY BY BRYAN EDWARDS
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 14, 2021
The Ravens went on to complete a goal-line stand by intercepting Derek Carr a few plays later. Even though the Ravens’ offense couldn’t capitalize on the huge momentum swing to pull off the miraculous win, if it wasn’t for Stephens’ touchdown-saving tackle, they would’ve never been given the chance.
S Chuck Clark
If the game ended at halftime, the veteran safety would’ve had a case for team MVP after his outstanding showing in the first half.
However, he had a part to play in the defense’s second-half collapse. Clark was the nearest defender to Darren Waller on his 10-yard touchdown reception, although DeShon Elliott also had a chance to stop him short of the goal line.
Nevertheless, Clark played well throughout the game and especially in the opening half. He’ll need another strong performance in Week 2 when the Kansas City Chiefs come to Baltimore for a second straight showdown with an AFC West opponent in primetime.
OG Ben Powers
The battle for starting left guard spot was one of the fiercest in training camp and the preseason. Even though he didn’t begin the game as the starter, third-year pro Ben Powers finished it that way and made some key blocks in the second half.
Second-year pro Tyre Phillips was the starting left guard to start the game but after he went down in the late in the second quarter with what appeared to be a serious knee injury, Powers was the next man up.
While Lamar Jackson was under siege for most of the night, the vast majority of that pressure was coming off the edge. He was solid in pass protection and made his biggest impact as a run blocker.
His highlight play came on Latavius Murray’s 8-yard touchdown run where Powers assisted Ronnie Stanley with a chip block before climbing to the second level to take on veteran linebacker K.J. Wright.
His block opened up the cutback lane that Murray used to muscle his way into the end zone against his former team. The score broke a 17-17 tie and put the Ravens back in front with just over six minutes left in regulation.
Friday: Latavius Murray signs with Ravens
Monday: Latavius Murray scores TD for Ravens
Next man up pic.twitter.com/q1mucR2Qyf
— PFF BAL Ravens (@PFF_Ravens) September 14, 2021
Even his former college and pro teammate Orlando Brown Jr. took notice of how well he stepped up and demanded he be given the respect he justly deserves.
Bennett Powers, put some respect on that man name
— Orlando Brown Jr. (@ZEUS__57) September 14, 2021