The Baltimore Ravens bounced back in a big way at home to kick off Week 11 with a 34-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday Night Football. They received some tremendous contributions from their 2023 rookie class, especially their top draft pick and one of their mid-round selections.
The Ravens had just two of their six 2023 draft selections and one undrafted first-year pro dressed, third-round linebacker Trenton Simpson was out with a concussion. Their first overall selection set a new franchise rookie record, their undrafted rookie running back was finally featured more in the offense, and their fourth-round edge defender recorded a pair of career firsts.
The only healthy first-year pro not in uniform was sixth-rounder Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, who was inactive after dressing as a backup in previous weeks. Seventh-round offensive guard Andrew Vorhees, who is likely to miss his entire rookie year, remains on the Non-Football Injury list. Undrafted rookie outside linebacker Malik Hamm remains on injured reserve, although he is eligible to return to practice at any time, opening his 21-day window to be activated.
How did the rookies who took the field fare in their latest taste of NFL regular season action?
WR Zay Flowers
The first-round rookie out of Boston College entered this game tied for the Ravens franchise record receptions by a rookie with 50 catches through 10 games and on the third play of the game, he made history in style with an electrifying 33-yard catch and run that moved the ball from Baltimore 40-yard line to the Cincinnati 27-yard line.
Flowers finished with 50 total yards from scrimmage on four total touches after recording two more receptions for 10 receiving yards and adding seven rushing yards to his total on a jet-sweep carry.
Unfortunately, his best play was negated by a ridiculous holding call on veteran wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on what was a completely clean block. On a second-and-short from the Ravens’ 32-yard line, he caught a ball behind the line of scrimmage on a screen, made a couple of defenders miss, and proceeded to take it the distance 68 yards to the end zone for what should’ve been his second career touchdown.
EDGE Tavius Robinson
The fourth-round rookie out of Ole Miss had seen his snaps steadily diminish since the arrival of 10-year veteran outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy but had the best game of the season by far against the Bengals in primetime. Robinson made plays against the run as well as the pass, recording three total tackles including two solos and one for a loss as well as his first career sack.
His takedown of Bengals’ quarterback Joe Burrow late in the first quarter resulted in a loss of seven yards on a drive that eventually led to a missed 53-yard field goal. He nearly had his second career sack in the fourth quarter but whiffed and Justin Madubuike capitalized, extending his franchise record for consecutive games with a sack streak.
RB Keaton Mitchell
The undrafted rookie out of East Carolina University wasn’t the Ravens’ most explosive playmaker on offense for the third week in a row but he continued to show impressive flashes in his most extensive action of the season to date. He received a career-high nine total touches and finished with 33 rushing yards on eight carries with a long of 21 and his third career reception for eight yards. Mitchell was very close the breaking several of his shorter runs for larger gains but the Bengals were selling out to stop the run in the first half, especially when he was on the field and had the ball in his hands.