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Even though he was held without a reception in the Ravens’ 35-7 season-opening win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Lee Evans made an important impact on the game.
In racking up 385 total yards of offense, Evans’ speed made him the perfect deep threat that kept the Steelers’ defense honest.
“Lee opened up a couple crossing routes for us, where he takes the top off the coverage, and if they don’t run with him, Joe’s going to throw it to him,” said Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh in a Monday press conference. “He cleared out some of those deep crossing routes that you saw.
“I think he had that kind of an impact.”
Evans was targeted four times, but he and quarterback Joe Flacco couldn’t connect.
The eight-year veteran said he feels like he is on the same page with Flacco, and that on-field chemistry should develop as the season continues.
“I think we were good, we just missed by a little bit,” Evans said after the game. “We both see the same things and communicated them. It’s still a growing process.”
While also crediting his downfield blocking, Harbaugh immediately recalled a play in the first quarter, when Evans sprinted downfield with cornerback Ike Taylor in tow.
Flacco then fired a dart to tight end Dennis Pitta for 29 yards, marching the Ravens to Pittsburgh’s 8-yard line. Three snaps later, touchdown.
“Also – people don’t think this is a big deal, but we do – he had some big blocks for us down the field on some of those runs,” said Harbaugh. “He played well. He was a factor, no doubt.”
Since being acquired for what was reported to be a fourth-round draft pick in mid-August, Evans was quickly involved in the offense.
Evans led the Ravens with 128 receiving yards and a touchdown on six catches during the preseason.
“Nobody said it was going to be absolutely perfect by now anyways,” Evans noted. “The good thing about it is we still made plays. It’s all good in a win.”