Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey talks about playing at Heinz Field and the loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun video)

As first career starts go, Marlon Humphrey enjoyed an impressive showing.

The Ravens rookie cornerback more than held his own against wide receiver Antonio Brown and the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers in Sunday night’s 39-38 loss at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, earning praise from fellow starter Brandon Carr after the game.


“He’s going to be a dog in this league,” Carr said. “He’s fast, big, physical, strong. He has a passion for the game. He’s going to be awesome.”

Humphrey was less effusive, choosing to talk more about the team than his own individual performance.

“We’ve just go to finish the game,” he said. “I think defensively, we had some good plays, we had some good drives. Towards the end when we need it the most, we couldn’t get off the field on third down and gave up a late field goal to let them win the game.”

Ravens coach John Harbaugh says having Marlon Humphrey shadow Antonio Brown was 'not our game plan'

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said assigning rookie cornerback Marlon Humphrey to cover Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown would not have allowed the defense to mix up its schemes.

But the numbers back up Carr’s assessment. Despite being targeted 12 times, Humphrey gave up only six completions for 37 yards, and only two of those receptions gained first downs, according to Pro Football Focus. The football analytical website gave Humphrey its third-highest grade among the Ravens.

When Humphrey was matched up against Brown, the latter caught only two of five passes for 7 yards. Conversely, Brown was targeted 13 times and came away with eight receptions for 141 yards against Carr, according to Pro Football Focus.

It should be a confidence booster for Humphrey and the team’s fans, who wondered whether the organization’s first-round pick in April’s NFL draft would be able to fill the void created when starter Jimmy Smith suffered a torn left Achilles tendon in a 44-20 victory over the Detroit Lions on Dec. 3.

While Humphrey — who has intercepted two passes thus far — appears to be living up to expectations at this early stage, coach John Harbaugh was hardly expansive when asked about the youngest player on the roster.

Asked whether there was anything that stood out about Humphrey’s performance, Harbaugh replied, “No. I thought he played well.”

Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

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