The Baltimore Ravens were back at home in Week 9 and dominated the Seattle Seahawks on both sides of the ball in a 37-3 blowout. They received some solid contributions from their 2023 rookie draft class but it was their top undrafted free agent that was the star of the show.
In a game where the Ravens had just three of their six 2023 draft selections and one undrafted first-year pro dressed, their first overall selection made a couple of impactful plays but their undrafted rookie running back broke out in a big way.
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?
RB Keaton Mitchell
The undrafted rookie out of East Carolina University made his return to action after missing last week’s win and played a huge part in propelling the Ravens to victory. Mitchell showed a glimpse of dominance in the first half when he picked up eight or more yards on his first four carries and was at 37 rushing yards at halftime.
While veteran Gus Edwards ripped off 42 yards on the first play of the third quarter, the second half was the Mitchell show as he recorded the Ravens’ two longest runs of the season. The first came late in the third quarter on a 40-yard sprint for his first career touchdown. The second was a 60-yard jaunt that he nearly housed in the fourth quarter to put him over the century mark.
He finished as the Ravens’ leading rusher with a career-high 138 yards on just nine carries for a gaudy average of 15.3 yards per carry.
OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) November 5, 2023
Tune in on CBS! pic.twitter.com/Bv6jrldTnk
WR Zay Flowers
The first-round rookie out of Boston College recorded season-lows in targets, receptions, receiving yards, scrimmage yards, and total touches with just one catch on one target for 11 yards. His lack of usage was more of a result of the game script than it was anything the Seahawks’ defense did as the Ravens racked up 298 of the 515 total yards of offense on the ground. They ran the ball 41 times compared to just 26 pass attempts between their two quarterbacks combined.
Even though Flowers touched the ball once, he still managed to make it a highlight play and moved the chains. He caught the ball and put Seattle standout rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon on skates in space as he picked up a first down deeper into the red zone on the Ravens’ second straight touchdown drive of the first half. On the very next play, he drew an illegal hands to the face penalty to move the ball to the Seahawks’ three-yard line where Edwards would score his second touchdown of the second quarter one play later.
LB Trenton Simpson
The third-round rookie out of Clemson played almost exclusively on special teams until he came onto the field for the last snap of the game when the Seahawks took a knee to end it. Simpson recorded the first two special teams tackles of his career on a pair of solos in the first half. The first came on the Ravens’ first punt of the game and he was able to limit Seahawks returner D.J. Dallas to an eight-yard return on a 47-yard boot from punter Jordan Stout to keep the net over 40 yards. His second tackle came on the final play of the first half on the kickoff following a 37-yard field goal by Justin Tucker where he pushed Seattle receiver Dee Eskridge out of bounds as time expired.
EDGE Tavius Robinson
The fourth-round rookie out of Ole Miss got more playing time on defense in the second half when the victory was well in hand and looked good. He finished with two total tackles including a solo that came on a great hustles open field takedown of Seahawks explosive running back Kenneth Walker III who caught a checkdown pass but was limited to a one-yard gain. His other tackle came on an assist on Seattle’s first offensive snap of the third quarter where he teamed up with All-Pro veteran inside linebacker Roquan Smith to bring down Walker for no gain.