Ravens WR Devin Duvernay’s Emergence Is Not ‘Surprising’

Ravens WR Devin Duvernay

Getty Ravens WR Devin Duvernay, after one of his four receptions September 11.

The Baltimore Ravens dominated the New York Jets on defense from start to finish in their season-opening 24-9 win over the Jets, but their offense got off to a sluggish start. One player who provided an offensive spark with a career-best performance was third-year wide receiver Devin Duvernay, who caught a pair of touchdowns, one in each half.

“What a game,” head coach John Harbaugh said in a postgame presser on September 11. “He came up with plays when we needed plays made. That’s what you hope for. We knew it was going to happen.”

He finished second on the team in receptions (four), targets (four) and receiving yards (54). He had never eclipsed more than 45 receiving yards or four catches in a single game.

On his first touchdown, on a third-and-5 in the second quarter, Duvernay beat cornerback Bryce Hall off the line with a nice release, got a couple of steps behind him, and made a great leaping grab to reel in a well-thrown ball from quarterback Lamar Jackson to put his team up 10-0.

His second score came on a third-and-10 with 7:21 left in the third quarter. He outran the safety over the middle of the field, and Jackson was able to step up in the pocket and hit him in stride as he was streaking wide-open into the end zone, extending the Ravens’ lead to 17-3.

 

“I’m not surprised,” Harbaugh said. “He’s done so many things for us, it doesn’t always show up in stat book. But he’s made so many big plays for us in the past. He’s been doing it in camp every single day. I don’t think any of the players are surprised, coaches. We’re just happy to see it in a game.”


Getting Into ‘Game Mode’

Last season, Duvernay, who turned 25 on September 12, was voted to the Pro Bowl and named First-Team All-Pro as a punt return specialist, getting limited opportunities as a receiver. After the Ravens traded Marquise “Hollywood” Brown to the Arizona Cardinals, Duvernay finally got his opportunity, and he has seized it.

“It felt good to get in the game mode, get things going, show the work I’ve put in this offseason and training camp,” Duvernay told reporters after the game. “I just went up and tried to make a play. We’ve been doing it all camp. It feels good to put into play in a game.”

Duvernay has already matched his career total for receiving touchdowns in just the first week of the 2022 season and is already nearly a fifth of the way toward surpassing his career-high yardage total for a season (272).


Tuning Out the Noise

The Ravens’ wide receiver depth chart was disrespected, doubted and discounted after Brown was traded. But the team’s faith in Duvernay and 2021 first-rounder Rashod Bateman didn’t waver.

“We don’t really listen to what the critics say,” Duvernay said. “We all know what we can do. We all know our abilities, our athleticism, our speed.”

He said that the unheralded group is more focused on proving themselves right rather than “try to prove the critics wrong.” In addition to Duvernay and Bateman, the other receivers jockeying to seize the opportunity for more playing time include veteran Demarcus Robinson, second-year pro Tylan Wallace and third-year pro James Proche.

Duvernay showed that he can help offset the loss of Brown and his speed, with both of his TD catches exceeding 20 yards.

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