Ravens second-year linebacker Patrick Queen was in pain, but he didn’t care.
After injuring his ribs late in the third quarter of the Ravens’ 16-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday night, Queen immediately wanted to go back on the field. The former first-round draft pick wants to be among the best defensive players to ever wear a Ravens uniform, so the pain he was feeling had to be pushed to the side.
When Queen returned to the field at the start of the fourth quarter, he quickly got into the Browns’ backfield to stop running back Kareem Hunt for a 3-yard loss with 10:37 remaining, helping the Ravens maintain a 13-10 lead.
“He was in major pain,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s just the kind of person he is. He really wants to be great. He really wants to be a great linebacker. He sees Ray Lewis up there in the [suite] on the big screen. That’s kind of the bar here, sort of, in a way, and I know he takes that very seriously.”
Queen has been a revelation in the Ravens’ defense of late. After struggling as an inside linebacker earlier in the season, Queen shifted to the weak side and has turned his season around.
“I’m just playing football at this point,” he said. “I know the defense down pat. We get scouting reports, [and] we know what the offense likes to do, so we’re just playing football at this point. See ball, get ball.”
Queen, who finished with eight tackles and a fumble recovery, played with a sense of urgency from the start. On the Browns’ second play of the game, quarterback Baker Mayfield handed the ball off to running back Nick Chubb and the linebacker burst through the Browns’ offensive line to stop Chubb for a loss.
Later in the first quarter, Mayfield threw a short pass to tight end Harrison Bryant, who was stuffed by Queen for no gain.
“It was going to come down to who wanted it more,” Queen said. “I wanted it. I wanted it bad. It’s been weeks of stacking and stacking and just praying and grinding, just trying to be a better player — trying to be a better player for my teammates, so they can rely on me and count on me.”
With 1:47 left in the third quarter, silence swept through M&T Bank Stadium when Queen injured his ribs attemping to make a tackle on Browns tight end David Njoku. Queen rolled around on the ground in pain, and trainers rushed to the field to attend to him.
“I just tried to hit somebody that was a little bit bigger than me,” he said. “I took the effects of it, but that’s football — it comes with it. So, I’m just happy that I’m still healthy.”
Queen got up and managed to walk off the field while clutching his side. When he walked into the medical tent, he already knew his night wasn’t over.
“I was going to return regardless,” he said. “I was hurting, but my teammates, I felt like they needed me, and I wanted to be out there for them. If it would have taken my all, then that’s what it was going to take.”
Fake punt confusion
Facing a fourth-and-2 from their own 33 with 3:11 to go in the second quarter, the Ravens lined up to punt. But instead of kicking the ball away, defensive back Anthony Levine Sr. took a direct snap up the middle for a first down. The play fooled the Browns, but it was called back because officials ruled that the ball was not ready to be snapped after Cleveland made some late substitutions.
The decision caused plenty of confusion, but after the referees explained the call to Harbaugh, the coach said the situation was handled correctly.
“I think it was, after we got the explanation,” Harbaugh said. “It was disappointing. I’m surprised they blew it in play so late, but that’s the rule. You have to wait until they blow it in play, and we’ll have to be more aware of that in the future.”
After the fake punt was negated, the Browns were penalized for having too many men on the field, giving the Ravens a first down anyway. They ended the drive with a 52-yard field goal by Justin Tucker to take a 3-0 lead.