The Baltimore Ravens had nearly all of the healthy members from their 2021 rookie class active for their lopsided 41-21 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Following the debilitating defeat, they remain in second place in the AFC North with an 8-7 record. Depending on the outcome of Monday’s game between the Miami Dolphins and the New Orleans Saints, they could hold the seventh and final playoff seed heading into Week 17 by end of the night.
Their active list included wide receiver Rashod Bateman, outside linebacker Odafe Oweh, offensive guard Ben Cleveland, defensive back Brandon Stephens, and wide receiver Tylan Wallace. Fifth-round rookie outside linebacker Daelin Hayes was the only first-year on the active roster that did not suit up for the game.
Here’s a breakdown of how the rookies fared in Week 16.
WR Rashod Bateman
The first-round rookie was a popular target of veteran backup quarterback Josh Johnson on the first drive. Bateman picked up 11 yards and a new set of downs on the Ravens’ first offensive play from scrimmage with Eli Apple in coverage and capped off their opening drive by hauling his first career touchdown 11 plays later on a quick slant.
Unfortunately, he didn’t have nearly as much success in the second half as Johnson spread the wealth to his other targets with the same regular heavy dose of Mark Andrews. He finished with four receptions on five targets for 26 yards, all of which came in the first two drives.
OLB Odafe Oweh
The first-round rookie had an active day as pass rusher even though he wasn’t able to bring down the slippery Joe Burrow. Oweh got dangerously close at times but in the end managed to record a pair of quarterback hits and an assisted tackle. According to Pro Football Focus, he led the team with eight pressures on 39 pass-rushing snaps.
OG Ben Cleveland
The third-round rookie made his second career start and while he had a strong day in pass protection, he wasn’t nearly as stout as a run blocker. Cleveland failed to make a block on a key fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter as the Ravens were trying to mount yet another comeback. On a fullback dive to running back Latavius Murray on their own side of the field, Cleveland’s missed block led to a run for no gain and a turnover on downs.
Ben Cleveland got tossed aside and the Bengals stop the Ravens on 4th-and-1. Burrow back in with Bengals taking over on Ravens 34.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) December 26, 2021
DB Brandon Stephens
The third-round rookie had a decent day from a tackling standpoint with five total including what was likely a touchdown saver of Bengals running back Joe Mixon on a 19-yard run that likely would’ve gone the distance had Stephens not made the clutch open-field stop. Unfortunately, he didn’t perform nearly as well in coverage as he gave up a handful of big plays through the air. According to PFF, he allowed all three of the passes that came his way to be completed for 98 yards and a perfect opposing passer rating of 158.3 on 26 coverage snaps.
WR Tylan Wallace
The fourth-round rookie continued to see his involvement on offense grow this week even though he only hauled in one of his two targets again. His second career reception was a beautiful display of toughness and run after the catch ability. He caught a short pass on a third-and-13, broke a pair of tackles, and picked up a hard-earned 18 to move the chains. Wallace continued to be a fixture on special teams too, covering kicks and punts well and returned two kicks for 39 yards with a long of 24.