Among the Ravens’ six sacks in a 47-3 shellacking of the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, two came from an unlikely source.
Slot cornerback Tavon Young sacked Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman twice in the first quarter, becoming the first Ravens defensive back to collect two sacks in the same game since Bennie Thompson had three sacks in a 30-27 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Nov. 10, 1996.
“I didn’t know that, but now that I do, I feel great,” Young said, crediting defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale for calling the blitzes. “I’m happy, but like I said, it’s great I’m making plays, but I’ve got to keep making them going to next week.”
Young, who had not sacked a quarterback since his senior year at Temple in 2015, sat out the entire 2017 season because of a torn left ACL.
“It feels great to come back and get a win in our first game, but we’ve got 15 more to go and a short week coming up,” said Young, who added three tackles and one pass breakup. “Being back with my teammates in the locker room after a win, I really couldn’t be happier right now.”
Strong safety Tony Jefferson, who had one of the defense’s two interceptions, said the unit was happy to have Young back on the field.
“He is a huge asset to this defense,” Jefferson said. “Obviously, that nickel spot guy needs to be able to do both — cover and blitz. ‘Tay’ is perfect for the job.”
With cornerback Marlon Humphrey suggesting that no one can block Young coming off the edge, Young quipped that he “felt like a D-lineman out there.” But when asked if he could challenge outside linebacker Terrell Suggs as the unit’s sacks leader, Young replied, “We’ve got great pass rushers. I’m a DB. I just cover. But when Coach calls a blitz, I’ve just got to make it happen.”
Up-and-down day for Grant
Janarion Grant’s taste of success was tinged with a little regret.
Grant, the rookie out of Rutgers who won the job as the team’s return specialist, evaded five would-be tacklers and returned his third punt 51 yards to Buffalo’s 20-yard line near the start of the second quarter. The offense converted that play into a 41-yard field goal by Justin Tucker.
“It was very gratifying, just showing the coaches what I can do out there each and every play,” he said. “I know I had one fumble, but I’ve just got to continue to look at the film, see what I did wrong, and move forward from there.”
Later in that quarter, Grant had a punt bounce off his right shoulder pad, and he chastised himself for not staying square as the ball descended toward him. Although he recovered the loose ball at the Ravens’ 15, he acknowledged that he can’t afford to make the same mistake.
“You’ve got to be on top of that, especially in these types of conditions,” said Grant, who lost a fumble on a punt return in a preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts on Aug. 20. “You’ve got to be aware and protect the ball. That’s the most important thing.”
The team deactivated quarterback Robert Griffin III, and rookie Lamar Jackson backed up starter Joe Flacco on Sunday. Despite making the active roster on Saturday and giving the team three quarterbacks on the active roster for the first time since 2009, Griffin, the 2011 Heisman Trophy winner and 2012 NFL Rookie of the Year, would have been pressed to find playing time with Flacco and Jackson, the organization’s second of two first-round picks in April’s NFL draft and the 2016 Heisman winner, in the fold. The Ravens also scratched defensive tackles Willie Henry and rookie Zach Sieler, guard Jermaine Eluemunor, rookie tight end Hayden Hurst, rookie wide receiver Jordan Lasley and rookie cornerback Darious Williams. Henry (hernia surgery) and Hurst (stress fracture in foot) had already been ruled out on Friday. … Cornerback Maurice Canady and rookie inside linebacker Kenny Young were available to play. Canady missed the final three games of the preseason after straining a muscle in his thigh on Aug. 17 in a joint practice with the Indianapolis Colts. Overcoming a questionable tag, Canady fortified an outside cornerback group missing Jimmy Smith (four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy) and Stanley Jean-Baptiste (broken right arm). Young had also been ruled questionable after suffering a left knee contusion in the final preseason game against the Washington Redskins on Aug. 30. Young added to an inside linebacker corps that includes starters C.J. Mosley and Patrick Onwuasor and rookie Chris Board. … The Bills made a surprise move in deactivating cornerback Vontae Davis, who had been projected as the starter but was still trying to rebound from a torn groin sustained last season while with the Colts. Phillip Gaines started alongside Tre’Davious White. Buffalo also scratched tight end Khari Lee, cornerback Ryan Lewis, rookie wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud III (knee), offensive tackle Conor McDermott, linebacker Julian Stanford (nose) and rookie guard Wyatt Teller. … Punter Sam Koch and right guard Marshal Yanda represented the Ravens for the coin toss.