The Baltimore Ravens came out on top in Week 12 with a decisive 20-10 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday Night Football. They received some tremendous contributions from their 2023 rookie class, especially their top draft pick and top undrafted free agent.
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 for the second straight game with a concussion. Their first overall selection finally scored on American soil and their undrafted rookie running back looked good in his first career start.
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 action?
WR Zay Flowers
The first-round rookie out of Boston College didn’t record his first career game of 100-plus receiving yards but he still had a sensational breakout game nonetheless by coming up with clutch plays for key conversions and a pair of scores. Flowers finished with five receptions for 25 receiving yards and a touchdown and ran the ball once for a 37-yard touchdown, becoming the first rookie to record a rushing and receiving score in the same game in franchise history.
Flowers’ three-yard touchdown catch was his first of his career in the United States, his first came in the team’s Week 6 win over the Tennessee Titans in London, England. His second touchdown and lone rushing attempt of the game came jet sweep end around handoff where he cutback to avoid a pair of over-pursuing defenders. The impressive play essentially sealed the victory by putting what was a one-score game out of reach for the Chargers with under two minutes left on the clock in the fourth quarter.
“Zay is electric (with) the ball in his hands,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
RB Keaton Mitchell
The undrafted rookie out of East Carolina University earned his first career start and played exceptionally well. Mitchell finally led the Ravens’ backfield in total snaps with 33 and total touches with a career-high 11. He finished as the team’s leading rusher with a game-high 64 rushing yards and addied another 25 yards to his scrimmage total as a receiver out of the backfield. His longest and most impressive play came on a 29-yard rush where he exploded through the line and might have been able to take it the distance had he not lost his balance after fighting through contact. The big game extended his streak of consecutive games with an explosive play of 20-plus scrimmage yards to four in a row.
EDGE Tavius Robinson
The fourth-round rookie out of Ole Miss didn’t record a tackle or even appear in the box score sheet but he was on the field for 10 defensive snaps and 10 on special teams. While he didn’t start the game, Robinson did check into the game on the first possession and played his part as a rotational early-down defender when it came to stopping the run. The Chargers were held to just 86 rushing yards on 19 attempts for an average of 4.5 yards per carry, although 40.6 percent of their total team total came on a 35-yard run by quarterback Justin Herbert in the fourth quarter.