The Ravens have a realistic chance to finish the regular season with the best record in the AFC, earning the conference’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Second-year QB Lamar Jackson is — justifiably — getting most of the credit for the team’s success, including being a leading candidate to win the MVP award this season, but he’s getting some help from teammates.
There’s one Ravens receiver in particular who is flying under the radar while contributing to the team’s success — and Marquise Brown has a special connection to Jackson.
The Ravens’ successful 2019 season
Past the three-quarter mark of the season, the Ravens are 11-2 and currently the top seed in the AFC. The Ravens’ two losses came in back-to-back weeks against the Chiefs and Browns back in September, and they’ve won nine straight since then — a streak that includes victories over likely playoff teams that include the Seahawks, Texans, Patriots, and 49ers.
If the Ravens can hold steady the rest of the way and maintain the top playoff seed in the conference, it would be the first time in the 23 years since the franchise moved to Baltimore that the team would be the No. 1 seed in the postseason.
With four games left in the regular season, the Ravens also have a chance to meet or exceed their franchise mark for wins in a season, when they went 13-3 in 2006.
Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown’s contributions to the team
Jackson is having an MVP-caliber season in his first full year as a starter. In his first 13 games, he has completed more than 66% of his passes for 2,677 yards and 28 touchdowns, with just six interceptions. But his more impressive stats are coming on the ground, as he has more than 1,000 rushing yards in 151 carries with seven rushing touchdowns.
He’s doing it all with just 20 regular season games of experience, having started seven games in 2018 and 13 games so far this season. Last season, Jackson also became the youngest quarterback in NFL history to start a postseason game, doing so the day before he turned 22, in a losing effort against the Chargers.
Marquise Brown, a rookie, has played in 11 games this season, recording 39 catches, totaling 518 yards and six touchdowns. Brown’s receiving numbers — while not earth-shattering — are second on the team, behind only TE Mark Andrews.
Brown’s success comes despite dealing with a foot injury during the summer that limited his participation in preseason games and called into question his availability for the start of the regular season.
Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown’s special connection
It didn’t take long for Jackson and Brown to develop a strong rapport on the field, and there’s a good reason for it. Although they didn’t play together in college — Jackson went to Louisville and Brown attended Oklahoma — it was a reunion of sorts for the two when the Ravens selected Brown in the first round of April’s draft.
Both players are native Floridians, with Jackson having grown up in Boynton Beach, while Brown is from Hollywood, just 40 miles down the coast. In fact, when they were kids, the now-teammates played together in Pop Warner, though they were on different teams.
Jackson even considers himself a mentor to the rookie receiver, including reaching out to Brown during the predraft process. Now that they’re on the same team, Jackson and Brown are often seeing hanging out together before and after games.