Marlon Brown makes the right read on game-winning touchdown


  • Ravens rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown makes the winning catch against the Minnesota Vikings.
Ravens rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown makes the winning… (Larry French, Getty Images )
December 08, 2013|By Aaron Wilson, The Baltimore Sun

Ravens rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown identified a weak spot in the Minnesota Vikings' zone coverage scheme, and capitalized on it for the game-winning touchdown Sunday.

When Brown darted behind Vikings middle linebacker Audie Cole, he caught a perfectly-placed lob from quarterback Joe Flacco for a 9-yard touchdown pass with four seconds remaining during the Ravens' 29-26 win Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

The 6-foot-5, 205-pound undrafted free agent secured the football, then dragged his feet inbounds at the back of the end zone. After a brief review, officials confirmed it was a touchdown.

"We lined up, and it was Cover 2 and I just kind of slipped my guy, and it was a great ball from Joe," Brown said. "It's pretty simple. After I caught it, I got up and I looked and I saw my feet drag and I was like, 'All right, I'm in.'"

This marked Brown's team-high sixth-touchdown catch of the season, tying retired Ravens running back Jamal Lewis for the second-most by a rookie in franchise history behind wide receiver Torrey Smith's seven touchdowns in 2011.

"Marlon made some big plays," Flacco said. "I thought they had pretty good coverage on the touchdown play there at the end. Marlon did a good job staying with the ball, dragging his feet and getting it right in the back of the end zone."

Brown set career-highs with seven receptions for 92 yards with five of his receptions generating first downs and one converted a third down.

"He plays like he's been in the league for a while," tight end Ed Dickson said of Brown. "He doesn't play like a rookie."

Brown had been quiet over the previous four games since catching two touchdown passes against the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 3, missing a game against the Chicago Bears with a knee injury.

Brown had just a combined three receptions for 23 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers, catching one pass in each of those games before emerging as a big factor Sunday against the Vikings.

During the Ravens' game-winning drive, Brown set up his own game-winning score by starting the drive with a 35-yard reception.

“I was out there just trying to make sure I just run my routes right,” Brown said. “I didn’t want to mess up. It was already the fourth quarter. I didn’t want to mess up. I was locking in.”

Jones on a tear

Unlike a week ago when he had to alter his path slightly to avoid crashing into Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, Jacoby Jones didn't have any interference to deal with Sunday during a long kickoff return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Jones returned a kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown with 1:16 remaining to give the Ravens a brief lead following a Vikings touchdown run.

"All week in practice, we'd been working on people kicking us sky kicks," Jones said after the fourth kickoff return touchdown of his career. "After a while, they get nervous or they weren't going to kick the ball deep to us. They popped it up, and I was able to get to the ball, and they did a great job of blocking it for me [fullbacks Kyle Juszczyk and Vonta Leach and linebacker Pernell McPhee.] That thing parted like the Red Sea."

Jones has six kickoff returns for 256 yards in the past two games, averaging 42.7 yards per return. Jones had to run up to secure a short kickoff during his touchdown Sunday.

"I was zoned in, 'Take this thing back,'" said Jones when asked if special-teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg alerted him to the possibility of a short kickoff. "I'm walking around in the end zone like I usually do, pacing and just happened to turn and look and the kick was short. I was like, 'Oh, snap.' So, I just started hauling butt and thank God I got there in time."

Dickson scores

Tight end Ed Dickson scored his first touchdown since the 2011 season.

Dickson caught a 1-yard touchdown in the first quarter from Flacco during a day where tight end Dennis Pitta played in his first game of the season since being activated from injured reserve-designated to return and scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

"The fact that Dennis was back made that happen," Dickson said. "Usually, Dallas Clark would be in there. I got to be physical on the goal line. Then, they called a pass play. Joe threw it up, and I took advantage of it. That got us started and we held that lead for a long time."

Dickson's last touchdown until Sunday came in a Dec. 24, 2011 game against the Cleveland Browns.

"I haven't scored a touchdown in almost two years," Dickson said. "Hopefully, it will open the flood gates."

Peterson injured

It was a rough day for Viking star running back Adrian Peterson.

Peterson was carted off the field in the first half with a sprained right foot  suffered during a first-half tackle by Ravens rookie linebacker Arthur Brown and was ruled out for the remainder of the game. He’ll undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam Monday morning, according to coach Leslie Frazier.

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