OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens third-string quarterback Trace McSorley received the first extended playing time of his young career and showed he can make an impact.
McSorley, a sixth-round (197th overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft from Penn State, entered in the fourth quarter of the Week 12 game against the Steelers after Robert Griffin III left with a hamstring injury.
McSorley showed solid command of the offense despite no practice time over the past week because of COVID-19 and threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown in the 19-14 setback.
The question is whether McSorley could unseat RG3 as the main backup behind Lamar Jackson, who missed the game because after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
"I thought Trace came in and played well," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "It was great to see Trace come in and play well. [He] gained some good experience there. So, we’ll move forward with that. We’ll see where it goes.”
Overall, McSorley, 25, completed two of six passes for 77 yards and ran for another 16 yards on three carries. His mobility was key, especially against the Steelers' front seven.
“It felt great. It’s been a long few years of just working every day and trying to stay ready," McSorley said. "[Quarterbacks] Coach [James] Urban does a great job with guys like me and ‘Snoop’ [Tyler Huntley] – we stay active, and we’re working all the time.
"So, he does a really great job of keeping us ready and making sure we’re working to the standard that he expects out of the quarterbacks, and really, out of our offense. So, it worked out, and I was happy that it was able to kind of come to fruition.”
Comparably, Griffin, 30, made his first start since last season's regular-season finale against the Steelers. RG3 completed seven of 12 pass attempts for 33 yards with an interception that was returned for a touchdown in the first quarter. He also ran for 68 yards on seven carries before leaving with the injury.
After the game, Griffin shouldered the responsibility for the loss.
"We felt that we had a chance to come in here and win, shock the world, and do something special," he said. "We didn’t do that, and I put that on myself, because I felt like I let the team down. I don’t think we’re supposed to really comment on injuries, but I pulled my hamstring in the second quarter. I felt like if I hadn’t done that, then we would’ve won this game.
"So, it’s just unfortunate. There were a lot of emotions running through my head. I didn’t want to quit on the team. I didn’t want to quit on my teammates. It was really emotional trying to fight through that and feeling like you let your guys down.”
The Ravens also have the undrafted Huntley in the mix and he flashed during training camp. While this is clearly Jackson's team, the backup quarterback situation could become intriguing over the final weeks of the season.
Griffin is an unrestricted free agent in 2021 and wants the opportunity to compete for a starting job. That's not going to happen in Baltimore.
McSorley is not eligible for free agency until 2023.