In Week 4 of the 2023 regular season, the Baltimore Ravens traveled to Ohio for the second time in three weeks and came away victorious yet again with a huge 28-3 bounce-back win over the Cleveland Browns.
In a game that they were viewed as underdogs by national media pundits because they were missing several starters to injury again, the team was able to take care of business thanks in no small part to some of their less-heralded players on both sides of the ball.
This article highlights the players whose performances flew under the radar but were still clutch, the unsung heroes.
CB Arthur Maulet
After playing just three defensive snaps last week, the veteran defensive nickelback was on the field for a season-high 44 snaps and made the most of his extensive playing time with several impactful plays. Maulet had a pass deflection that led to an interception, the first of the career for Brandon Stephens, who would set up a one-play offensive scoring drive by returning the turnover 52 yards to the Cleveland 10-yard line.
Maulet finished tied for the second-most total tackles on the team with five including three solos. His ability as an aggressive and efficient open-field tackler was on display several times as made a pair of stops to prevent a Browns tight end from picking up a first down short of the line to gain. While he briefly left for the locker room in the concussion protocol, he quickly returned and was able to finish the game.
“Arthur played very well,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “He played hard; he made tackles; he covered people; he was on special teams. We kind of were running out of guys, and then guys were going out there and playing … They were pulling extra shifts out there, for sure, and he was one of the guys doing that.”
RB Melvin Gordon
The two-time Pro Bowler only had four total touches in the game but half of them resulted in a pair of 20-plus yard plays. First came the 22-yard run that he ripped off on the Ravens’ second touchdown drive of the game with just under five and a half minutes left in the second quarter. He erupted through the line of scrimmage unscathed and nearly scored himself before getting pushed out of bounds just shy of the goal line.
Lamar Jackson scored on the very next play from one-yard put but that wouldn’t be the last time that the two of them worked in tandem to make an impact. On the Ravens’ very next drive, Gordon found himself on the receiving end of a perfectly lofted touch pass from his star quarterback for one of his most impressive completions of the game. The play occurred on third-and-long, went for 23 yards, and moved the ball into Browns’ territory to extend the eventual touchdown drive.
Lamar Jackson ELITE ball placement to Melvin Gordon. pic.twitter.com/eXIfsNTcgE— Arye Pulli (@AryePulli) October 1, 2023
DB Geno Stone
The fourth-year pro stepped up big in place of starting free safety Marcus Williams for the third week in a row after many believed the high-priced veteran would be making his return to the lineup after practicing fully last week. Stone finished with three total tackles and made a pair of plays on the ball, one to break up a pass and the other for his second interception of the season. On the turnover, he was in the right place at the right time to haul in what was essentially an arm punt from rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who was being heavily pressured on the play.
FB Patrick Ricard
The four-time Pro Bowler could arguably be on this list every week for the mere fact the position he plays often goes unnoticed unless he scores a touchdown. While Ricard didn’t reach the end zone himself, he was instrumental in helping others do so in this game with his punishing blocks.
Ricard was the second-highest-graded Ravens player on offense, third-highest overall in Week 4 according to Pro Football Focus. He recorded his first touch of the season and it came in clutch moment on a third down with nine yards needed to move the chains. After initially catching a check-down pass short of the line to gain he picked up the necessary yardage to convert and then some before a pair of defenders could bring him down. The Browns had forced punts on the Ravens’ first three drives of the second half but that conversion would extend what would be their fourth and final touchdown drive of the game.
DT Broderick Washington
The fourth-year pro had his best game of the season to date on Sunday in which he helped bottle up the Browns’ ground game as well as apply consistent pressure on Thompson-Robinson. He finished with a season-high three total tackles—all of which were solos—including one for a loss, a quarterback hit, and his first sack of the season. Prior to this game, Washington had a quiet start to the year after signing an extension during training camp and he certainly looked like a great investment in Cleveland.
Broderick Washington breaks free from Joel Bitonio (a five-time Pro Bowler) for a sack.— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) October 3, 2023
Also, notice how Jadeveon Clowney is lined up inside DT Justin Madubuike. Some more creative rush scheme in Mike Macdonald's defense. pic.twitter.com/i83PY2pQts
EDGE Jadeveon Clowney
The three-time Pro Bowler didn’t exactly stuff the stat sheet, finishing with just two total tackles—both of which were solos—and a tackle for loss. However, he was still extremely disruptive all game long both a run defender and pass rusher. Clowney was a mainstay in the backfield for most of the day with the way he knifed through the line of scrimmage, blew up plays, and relentlessly pressured the Browns inexperienced rookie quarterback.
If ‘almost sacks’ were a real stat, he’d probably be leading the league by a mile with all the opposing quarterbacks that have narrowly eluded his grasp through the first four games. Nevertheless, his ability to generate consistent, sometimes instantaneous pressure that forces throwaways, overthrows, underthrows, and errant passes that could be intercepted is a tremendous asset to the Ravens defense.
The sacks are going to come for Jadeveon Clowney this season. pic.twitter.com/C5kpUDCmdh— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) October 3, 2023
P Jordan Stout
The second-year pro had an incredibly strong performance in Week 4. He weaponized his leg to repeatedly pin the Browns offense back deep in their own side of the field. He punted a career-high seven times and set new personal bests in punting yardage (334), net punt yards (310), and placed the ball inside the Cleveland 10-yard line twice.
If Stout keeps up his sensational start to the season, he could become a household name in short order, joining a pipeline of gifted specialists that features future Hall of Fame Justin Tucker and his predecessor, Sam Koch, who helped redefine the art of punting with all of his directional kicks.
Jordan Stout had one helluva game against the Browns— Kyle Phoenix Barber (@KylePBarber) October 2, 2023
Seven punts (ties career high)
334 punt yards (new PB)
310 net yards (new PB)
3 punts inside the 20
EDGE Kyle Van Noy
The 10-year veteran had a very impressive debut in his first game with the Ravens despite being on the team for less than a week. With Odafe Oweh out with an injury for the second week in a row and David Ojabo placed on injured reserve to make room for him on the active roster, Van Noy was thrust into playing 33 percent of the team’s total defensive snaps and played very well. The 32-year-old generated consistent pressure off the edge and finished with a quarterback hit and a pass breakup that nearly got corralled for an interception by Patrick Queen.
According to Pro Football Focus, he recorded four total pressures, three hurries, and a pass rush win rate of 20 percent on 15 pass rush snaps. The fact that Van Noy looked as good as he did on a short week of preparation in new defense will give the team confidence that he can handle a heavier workload moving forward.
“He played pretty amazing [with] what he did,” Harbaugh said. “He showed up [on] Tuesday on the red-eye [flight] and was out there taking a bunch of snaps on Sunday in a huge AFC North game, and that just shows you what kind of player he is.
“It’s a credit to what kind of shape he was in. Also, just his understanding of the game to pick it up like he did so quickly. So, [I’m] just very happy that he was able to do that. He’s fired up about it, too, so we just keep going forward from there.”