The Baltimore Ravens had all of the healthy members from their 2021 rookie class active for their stunning 22-10 loss on the road to the Miami Dolphins in primetime on Thursday Night Football. Of all the first-year players that suited up for the game, the two first round picks stood out the most.
Their active list included wide receiver Rashod Bateman, outside linebacker Odafe Oweh, defensive back Brandon Stephens, and wide receiver Tylan Wallace. Undrafted defensive back Ar’Darius Washington was inactive for the fourth straight game.
Here’s a breakdown of how the rookies fared in Week 10.
WR Rashod Bateman
The first-round rookie was one of the lone bright spots for the Ravens on an otherwise dreary and disappointing night in South Beach. He continues to impress and improve the more he gets involved in the offense since making his debut after missing the first six-game of the season.
Bateman was the most productive and consistent pass catcher not named Mark Andrews for the Ravens offense in this game. He set a new career-high by tying with Andrews for the team lead in receptions with six and tied his career-high in receiving yards, leading the team in receiving with 80 yards.
While his career percentage of catches resulting in first downs dipped slightly again for the second straight game, he was still a chain-moving machine nonetheless with four of six receptions resulting in a new set of downs. He also delayed the Ravens from committing their first turnover of the game by quickly falling on a fumble by Marquise Brown in the first quarter. Had Lamar Jackson been able to put plant his feet and push his final pass attempt further towards the sideline and to Bateman’s outside shoulder, the rookie likely would’ve had his first career touchdown but instead, the play resulted in a game-sealing interception.
OLB Odafe Oweh
The first-round rookie had his best game in a while because he not only broke his three-game drought without a sack, but he also rebounded from a shaky edge setting game against the run in the Ravens’ win over the Vikings on Sunday with a dominant one albeit in a loss to the Dolphins. Oweh’s best play against the run came on an outside zone play to the right where he beat two blockers on his way to taking down Dolphins’ running back Miles Gaskin for a 1-yard loss.
His sack came on a twist where he lined up inside over the left guard and was able to slingshot himself into a clutch third-down takedown of Jacoby Brissett for an 8-yard loss to force a punt. He had some other rapid pressures in the second half as part of some collective efforts to force some throwaways and errant passes. Oweh finished with 4 total tackles including 3 solos and 2 for a loss and 3 quarterback hits.
Ravens Edge Odafe Oweh picks up his 4th sack of the season, but a huge assist to Calais Campbell, as he wiped out the entire left side of Miami’s O-line pic.twitter.com/JwRpmYx26n— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 12, 2021
DB Brandon Stephens
The third-round rookie made his third career start at free safety in place of DeShon Elliott who went on injured reserve earlier this week as after suffering a pair of season-ending injuries on Sunday in the team’s win over the Vikings. While he filled in admirably when Elliott exited that game late, he had about as bad of a game as a defensive back, rookie or otherwise, could have against the Dolphins.
Stephens struggled mightily in coverage where he looked utterly lost at times and was consistently out of position. The group effort that Head Coach John Harbaugh said the defense would employ to fill the void left by Elliott was not apparent in this game as Stephens played 97 percent of the total defensive snaps, many of which were to their detriment. He finished with five total tackles, including four solos but was responsible for giving up some of Miami’s biggest plays of the night that came at back-breaking times for the Ravens as they tried to pull off yet another late comeback.
Stephens is not only a first-year player but he is still relatively new to playing on the defensive side of the ball altogether since he is a converted running back that didn’t make the transition to the other side of the ball until halfway through his college career. So to expect him to have a seamless or even smooth transition into a permanent full-time starter role midway through his rookie season isn’t really fair and was overly optimistic on the part of the coaching staff to a degree.
WR Tylan Wallace
The fourth-round rookie didn’t see a single snap on offense for the second straight game but continues to shine on special teams. Punter Sam Koch punted eight times in this game and on just about every one of them. Wallace was among the first if not the first member of the coverage team to reach the returner and downed the first punt of the third quarter at Miami’s 5-yard line.