With No.1 wide receiver Anquan Boldin still sidelined by a knee injury, the time is now for veteran receiver Lee Evans to step in and play a major role in the Ravens’ regular-season finale at Cincinnati.
Evans, who made second start of the season last week, was targeted four times, but failed to record a catch.
Quarterback Joe Flacco completed 11 passes in the Ravens’ 20-14 victory over the Browns last Saturday, with just two going to wide receivers, and both of those were to rookie Torrey Smith.
Smith tortured the Bengals’ secondary in the first meeting between the two teams, hauling in six passes, for a Ravens rookie-record 165 yards and one touchdown in a Ravens 31-24 victory on Nov. 20.
You can bet Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has been preparing for Smith all week to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
This will put a huge emphasis on the 30-year-old Evans, the only healthy receiver who is not a rookie. Similar to Smith, Evans has the ability to break the top off the Bengals’ secondary. In the first meeting, Smith’s vertical ability was vital in helping to open up the running game as well as the underneath routes the Ravens receivers and tight ends love to run so much.
Evans, acquired in a shorten offseason from the Buffalo Bills in exchange for a fourth-round draft pick, has to yet to do much of anything with Baltimore. After averaging 53 receptions for 847 yards in his first seven seasons with the Bills, Evans has a meager four catches for 74 yards with the Ravens this season. However, those numbers are a little skewed since Evans was forced to miss seven games earlier in the season due to a nagging ankle injury.
Since Evans has returned to the lineup, we’ve been waiting week after week for a breakout performance. This week Evans squares off against a somewhat suspect Bengals pass defense, which may bode well for Evans and the rest of the Ravens passing attack.