We were treated to the ultimate football experience on Sunday night when Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens trounced Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs by a thrilling score of 36-35. There were several breathtaking moments and standout performers, but one integral part of the Ravens’ passing game deserves a ton of national attention this week.
The 2020 Ravens finished last season dead last in receiving yards. They entered the 2021 campaign knowing they had to take a step forward as a passing offense, and the early returns have been encouraging.
The biggest reason why? The early-season emergence of Marquise “Hollywood” Brown deserves loads of credit.
Through two games, the former Oklahoma standout has totaled 12 catches for 182 yards and two touchdowns. Expand the numbers to a 17-game season, and Brown is on pace for 102 receptions and 1,274 receiving yards. It may be a bit early for that sort of outlook, but there’s no denying Brown has been an electric receiver through two games. Brown is currently putting in the type of performances the Ravens required in order for their passing game to take the desired step forward.
Brown’s rookie season wasn’t kind to him. Much was made of his 166-pound frame entering the league and the knob was turned up to the nth degree when Brown struggled with injury and creating separation in his rookie season. All in all, Brown wrapped up his rookie campaign by producing a measly 584 yards—that’s not typically the type of production you hope for when you draft a receiver in the first round.
As a sophomore in 2020, Brown finished as the Ravens’ leading receiver with 769 yards, but expand your horizons and you’ll see that he finished 42nd in the NFL in both targets and receiving yards. Still, it wasn’t good enough.
Baltimore made several moves in the offseason in an attempt to improve their passing game. They added two notable names to the fold in Sammy Watkins and Rashod Bateman, but who knew that the answer to their passing woes was an in-house candidate all along? It’s a bold statement, but that’s how good I feel about Brown right now.
It’s early, but Brown is in the midst of an excellent campaign. His dynamic ability to get vertical and leave defensive backs in the dust has been on display for two weeks, and he’s playing with a terrific amount of confidence. If this keeps up, Btown is primed to serve as one of the league’s biggest breakout stars.