But the third-year wide receiver revealed after the game that he almost sat out the pivotal game due to a lingering ankle injury.
“I didn’t think I was going to play this week,” said Brown, who was listed as questionable on the Ravens’ injury report going into the game.
But Hollywood woke up on Sunday morning and decided to play through the pain to give the Ravens their best chance to win.
And it’s a good thing he did. The former Oklahoma Sooner was one of Baltimore’s most important players on Sunday night, recording first downs on five of his six catches, including a 42-yard third-quarter touchdown that prevented Kansas City from running away with the game.
The Chiefs received the second-half kickoff and needed just five plays to reach the end zone, opening up a 28-17 lead that, to most opponents, would look insurmountable.
But the Ravens didn’t flinch, launching a touchdown drive of their own, capped off by a Lamar Jackson jump-pass to Brown that kept the game within one possession.
Brown exploited a blown coverage by the Kansas City secondary, getting 8.5 yards of separation from the nearest defender, per Next Gen Stats.
Once the speedy Brown got behind the defense, there was no catching him, as the former Oklahoma Sooner ran more than 20 yards with ease for the score.
This angle of the touchdown shows just how wide-open Brown was on the play.
Hollywood Calls Back to 2020 Cleveland Go-Ahead TD
Many Ravens fans compared Brown’s touchdown on Sunday night and his game-winning score against the Cleveland Browns on December 14, 2020.
On that play, Brown similarly snuck behind the Cleveland defense for a wide-open catch-and-run that put the Ravens up 40-35 with less than two minutes remaining.
The parallels weren’t lost on Brown, who said his touchdown against the Chiefs gave him “Cleveland vibes.”
Brown Off to a Hot Start in 2021
It’s difficult to see how the Ravens could have beat Kansas City without Brown, whose 113 yards and six catches were both his second-highest single-game totals of his career.
With his new No. 5 on his jersey, Hollywood has emerged as the Ravens’ top receiver this season, leading the team in all major receiving categories despite an injury-plagued start to the year. Brown missed several practices throughout training camp and two in the week leading up to the crucial matchup against the Chiefs, but you’d hardly know it watching him during games.
Sunday night was Brown’s second straight strong performance after he caught all six of his targets against the Las Vegas Raiders for 69 yards and a touchdown last week.
But to call this a breakout season for Brown would ignore his exceptional finish to the 2020 season that saw him score six touchdowns in the Ravens’ last six games. He’s carried that form into this season, reaching the end zone eight times in his last eight appearances for Baltimore.
He has the second-best receiving grade from Pro Football Focus of all NFL wide receivers, including an 89.9 rating for his standout game against the Chiefs. With an 87.4 overall grade on the season, Brown is the Ravens’ top-graded player, ahead of higher-profile teammates like Lamar Jackson and Marlon Humphrey.
The Ravens have withstood a brutal stretch of injuries to start the season in large part because of Brown. If he’s able to keep the passing game afloat until the rest of the offense gets healthy, the Ravens’ Super Bowl hopes may not be as dashed as previously thought.