In their debut performances for the Baltimore fans last night, the Ravens’ newest offensive acquisitions shined brightly, carrying the offense to 10 first half points. During that time, they were the only ones on the first-string offense who did much shining at all.
Evans, acquired last week in a trade with the Bills, had three catches for 68 yards, while Leach, the powerful blocking fullback who signed a three-year deal with Baltimore three weeks ago, delivered a monster hit and showed his blocking prowess in the Ravens’ 31-13 win over the Chiefs.
For Evans, the performance was a big step forward after having some early issues picking up the terminology involved in the Ravens’ offense.
“Actually, the game felt a lot easier than what I had to go through earlier in the week,” Evans said. “It was good. The communication was good, and we were able to make a few plays.”
He made just three catches in his Ravens debut, but in that time, Evans showed he might just be everything offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s group has lacked recently.
Speedy wideout who gets out of his breaks quickly - check.
Sure-handed receiver that Flacco can trust on third downs - check.
Home-run hitter - check.
“Lee Evans has been a great addition to our offense since the day he got here, and we’re glad the fans had a chance to see that tonight,” Cameron said.
As for Leach, it’s not often a blocking fullback gets a standing ovation, but that’s what happened in the second quarter when the bruising back caught a swing pass from Flacco and planted a Chiefs linebacker into the turf on his way to a five-yard gain.
As Leach made the catch and turned upfield, he saw the Chiefs’ Brandon Siler closing on him. The 6-foot, 260-lb. Leach lowered his helmet, hit Siler square in the chest, and knocked the linebacker on his backside.
Leach’s helmet came flying off, and he got up to a round of applause from an appreciative Ravens crowd.
“It felt real good to get out and catch the ball in the flat,” Leach said. “I think everybody has heard just about my blocking skills and stuff, how I can block. I don’t think people know I can really catch the ball. I got a pretty good hit in. The crowd got excited, and I think it got my teammates excited.”
The very next play, Leach delivered in a more traditional fashion, making a key block on the left side to open space for running back Ray Rice to cut back to the right and scamper 26 yards for a touchdown.
Those back-to-back plays showed a glimpse of what might be ahead with Leach in the Ravens’ backfield this season.
“That’s just the way I play. I’m a physical guy,” Leach said. “It just felt real good, running out, getting your name called and hearing everybody screaming. For me to be a part of the game and feel the excitement of the crowd, I feed off that.”