The Baltimore Ravens won their third straight in Week 14 with a 37-31 win over the Los Angeles Rams in overtime at M&T Bank Stadium. They received some tremendous contributions from their 2023 rookie class, especially their top draft pick and top undrafted free agent.
The Ravens had just three of their six 2023 draft selections and one undrafted first-year pro dressed. Their first overall selection and their undrafted rookie running back both made explosive plays for an offense that struggled with consistency at times on Sunday.
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 returned to practice this week but wasn’t activated from injured reserve although his 21-day window was officially opened.
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 recovered from a couple of bad drops in the first half and was extremely clutch in the fourth quarter where recorded five of his six catches and 45 of his 60 receiving yards. His biggest play came on third-and-17 from the Rams’ 21-yard line after a controversial ruling of sack back the Ravens up but in a vindicating ‘ball don’t lie’ turn of events, Flowers hooked up with Lamar Jackson on a go-ahead touchdown strike.
The two of them connected on back-to-back plays after the Ravens opted to go for a two-point conversion after the score to put themselves up by three so that the Rams couldn’t beat them with a game-winning field goal. Jackson hit a streaking Flowers in stride who showed great spatial awareness by making sure to get both feet in bounds before his momentum carried him out of bounds. That play proved to be almost as crucial as his fourth career touchdown given that the Rams drove for a game-tying field goal in the final 76 seconds of regulation.
TWO POINT CONVERSION IS GOOD ❗❗❗❗— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 10, 2023
Tune in on FOX pic.twitter.com/Ll4YfXMrsS
“I feel like we started off slow [and] came back in the second half strong so we just got to keep working,” Flowers said postgame. “I pride myself on winning one-on-one matchups. I knew it was going to be open, I ran my route (Lamar) seen me, put it in the air, [and] I had to go get it.”
RB Keaton Mitchell
The undrafted rookie out of East Carolina University didn’t make his second straight start but he checked into the game on the Ravens second play from scrimmage and finished with more rushes than veterans Gus Edwards and Justice Hill had total touches combined. Mitchell led all Ravens running backs with 54 rushing yards on nine attempts and added another eight yards to his scrimmage total on first down reception on his first offensive snap.
He was close to breaking several runs for bigger plays and even long scores but lost his footing on the wet grass field. However, he did manage to extend his streak of consecutive games with at least one play of 20-plus yards with a 27-yard sprint. It marked the longest run of of the game by either team and sparked the Ravens first possession of the second half that led to a game-tying field goal.
Keaton Mitchell different ⚙️ pic.twitter.com/LavCnbtE4L— dranksipper (@gelatoboismoke) December 11, 2023
EDGE Tavius Robinson
The fourth-round rookie out of Ole Miss contributed on special teams and continues to play a rotational role on early downs. He finished was a pair of assisted tackles and was flagged once for a facemask on the first drive of the game that moved the ball into the red zone for the Rams, thankfully the defense was able to hold them to a short field goal.
ILB Trenton Simpson
The third-round rookie out of Clemson made his return after missing the previous two games ahead of the bye week with a concussion. He played exclusively on special teams and recorded a tackle on the Ravens only punt in overtime and was part of the blocking unit that helped spring third-year wide receiver for his game-winning walk-off punt return touchdown.