PHILADELPHIA — On Monday, Marquise Brown lined up against defenders wearing a different NFL uniform than him for the first time.
Three days later, he saw his first game action. The first-round draft pick caught three passes on as many targets for 17 yards as the Ravens defeated the Eagles, 26-15, in a weather-shortened game at Lincoln Financial Field.
“My expectation was to not make any mistakes and catch every ball that was thrown to me,” Brown said. “Man, it felt amazing. It’s the best day so far. Just being out here – from pregame to being in the game and being with the team – it was just a lot of fun.”
Brown admitted to being a little emotional as he warmed up. He was about to play his first game since undergoing foot surgery following his junior season at Oklahoma.
Once it began, Brown said, it was just football.
He did not have to wait long to get involved as the Ravens went to Brown on their first offensive snap of the night. Quarterback Trace McSorley – starting in place of Lamar Jackson – immediately went to his fellow rookie for a gain of 7 yards.
“I knew the route, but I didn’t know it was getting thrown to me,” Brown said. “Just being able to catch the ball in a live setting felt good.”
The opening series ended with an unsuccessful end-around to Brown that lost 4 yards.
Brown caught his second pass late in the opening quarter for a gain of 5. His final reception came just over a minute into the second quarter, hauling in a 5-yard pass from McSorley along the left sideline.
“I think it’s definitely good to see him get going. It’s awesome for him to be out there,” McSorley said. “It adds another element, a guy with that kind of speed and what he can do. It just helps our offense the more you can get guys like him the ball.”
The Ravens sat Brown down for the night before halftime.
“It seemed like he did OK,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “I thought about trying to get him a deep ball in there, but it just didn’t work out. He wasn’t in long enough. It was good to see him out there. He didn’t really flinch and now he’s played a little bit, so that’s a positive.”
The Eagles’ defensive backs played far off of Brown on the line of scrimmage to prevent him from getting deep behind the secondary, respecting the blazing speed that made him the first wide receiver drafted.
Brown practiced for the first time on July 31. He was held out of full-team drills during Baltimore’s practices with the Jacksonville Jaguars, so when he took part in Monday’s 11-on-11 drills during a joint practice with the Eagles, it was the first time he lined up across from a player that was not a teammate of his. Brown then sat out of Tuesday’s joint practice.
“I would have loved to have him practice Tuesday, too, but the doctors and trainers felt like it was better to rest him,” Harbaugh said.
Jackson was held out Thursday, all but certainly ending the preseason for the second-year quarterback. The young quarterback-receiver tandem would have benefitted from playing together during a preseason game, but will have to wait until Week 1 in Miami to take the field together.
Brown said he is not concerned with the lack of time he and Jackson have had together.
“That’s where practice comes in. There’s a lot of practice time left until Week 1,” he said. “We have to get together and make sure we get everything squared away.”
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