The Baltimore Ravens (8-3) dominant 34-20 victory over their AFC North foes the Cincinnati Bengals (5-5) took everybody stepping up to the plate and playing great football throughout four quarters on TNF, but one particular player was sublime at limiting his opponent.
Ravens cornerback Brandon Stephens was the man tasked with covering Bengals main wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase and he simply excelled at it.
The second-year defensive coordinator of the Ravens, Mike Macdonald, is widely known as the man to boss Cincy in the past couple of years after Joe Burrow and the rest of the Tigers dominated the matchups against the Flock in the years before.
Macdonald decided to give Brandon Stephens the task of covering Bengals' standout receiver Ja’Marr Chase for the second time this season on Thursday.
The previous encounter between both teams saw Stephens limiting Chase to a mere 31 receiving yards in a Ravens Week 2 victory, so the decision wasn't made out of thin air.
This week, Chase was targeted seven times during the game, securing just a couple of receptions for a meager 12 yards and one garbage-time touchdown.
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Stephens matched up against Chase on 22 out of 35 routes, yielding an average target separation of 0.9 yards in those meetings.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh spoke about his cornerback after the game, saying, "[Stephens] did a great job. We played a little bit of man coverage out there quite a bit, and I thought everybody did a good job."
Harbaugh congratulated Stephens, who "knew the challenge that he was going to be faced with," and ended up doing "a phenomenal job."
Finished Harbaugh: "He keeps stepping up, meeting every challenge."
The Ravens as a whole limited the Bengals to just 272 total yards on offense and an even lower 136 passing yards on 31 attempts between Joe Burrow and backup Jake Browning.