The Baltimore Ravens had the majority of their rookie class active for their exhilarating 36-35 statement win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night. The rookies that did suit up made quite a few plays in all three phases and played key roles in the team’s victory.
Their active list included outside linebacker Odafe Oweh, offensive guard Ben Cleveland, defensive back Brandon Stephens, wide receiver Tylan Wallace and defensive back Ar’Darius Washington. The only inactive rookie not on injured reserve was outside linebacker Daelin Hayes, who has yet to make his regular-season debut.
Here’s a breakdown of how the rookies that played fared in Week 2.
OLB Odafe Oweh
The first-round rookie followed his impressive debut, where he recorded his first career sack and had an overall good game, with an even more impactful performance. He had another complete showing as both a run defender and pass rusher. Oweh made several plays in the game that were key in the Ravens victory.
His first game-changing play came on the Chiefs’ third drive of the third quarter. Kansas City was already up by 11 points and driving for what looked to be the final nail in the Ravens’ coffin if they didn’t come away with a stop or force a turnover. On third-and-long from the Kansas City 46-yard line, Patrick Mahomes stepped up into a crumbling pocket when Oweh had him wrapped up for what was going to be his second career sack. The former Super Bowl MVP tossed up an ill-advised pass that was hauled in by Ravens’ nickel cornerback Tavon Young for a momentum-shifting interception.
The @Ravens defense forces the INT! #RavensFlock— NFL (@NFL) September 20, 2021
: #KCvsBAL on NBC
: https://t.co/SsXyNx0bwQ pic.twitter.com/eTGepYH8eU
As integral as that play was to igniting the Ravens comeback effort, it wasn’t even Oweh’s best and most impactful play of the game. That came on the Chiefs’ final drive of the game, where they were driving and well-positioned to kick the game-winning field goal. On a second down hand-off to running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Oweh was able to not only punch the ball out to force a fumble but recover the loose ball. This ultimately ended up being the game-saving play.
ODAFE OWEH WELCOME TO THE LEAGUE!— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 20, 2021
NOW ON NBC! pic.twitter.com/6hDbrKClBX
He had several pressures, a quarterback hit, and finished with three solo tackles, including one for a two-yard loss where he set a strong edge and brought the ball-carrier down in the backfield.
OG Ben Cleveland
The third-round rookie made his regular season debut after being a healthy scratch in Week 1. He didn’t start the game at left guard but saw time with the starters at different points in the game.
The first time he entered the game was on the Ravens’ third drive of the game, where he helped them march 47 yards down to Kansas City’s 28-yard line. Before Lamar Jackson threw his second interception of the game trying to force the ball to Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown in triple coverage, Cleveland made a nice block pulling to the right on a six-yard run by Ty’Son Williams.
Ben Powers was reinserted back into the lineup after that drive and Cleveland didn’t see the field again until the fourth quarter. However, he helped pave the way for both of the Ravens’ scoring drives to take their first lead of the game late. Overall, he had a very solid first game in live, non-exhibition action. Cleveland looked solid in pass protection and was especially impressive as a run blocker, where he consistently won at the point of attack and drove defensive lineman downfield.
Smooth little gain by Ty’Son Williams pic.twitter.com/EPLhV3vCED— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) September 20, 2021
DB Brandon Stephens
The rookie third-round pick saw his most extensive action on defense to date in his first year. Stephens started the entire second half at free safety after DeShon Elliott exited the game after suffering a concussion. He had an up-and-down outing and struggled with tackling in the open field, including two whiffs on both the Chiefs’ touchdowns in the third quarter.
Stephens’ best play on defense came on a nice recovery play. He showed off his range to force Mecole Hardman out of bounds after Anthony Averett got beat deep down the left sideline. While his play on defense was inconsistent, he had a strong performance on special teams with two tackles.
WR Tylan Wallace
Speaking of special teams, the fourth-round rookie had another solid outing covering kicks in the third phase of the game. He saw his first snap on offense of the year and wasn’t targeted but his contributions as a gunner continue to cushion the blow of losing Justice Hill for the year.
DB Ar’Darius Washington
The undrafted rookie made his regular-season debut after being a healthy scratch last week and primarily played on special teams (six snaps) until the fourth quarter. He played his first and only snap on defense on Oweh’s game-sealing play.