Neither Nelson Agholor nor Kevin Zeitler is willing to deny Sara Zeitler’s claim that her cupcakes are responsible for Agholor’s touchdown in the Ravens’ win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
With 11 minutes, 43 seconds on the clock and the Ravens holding just a three-point lead over the reigning division champions, Agholor took off from the slot, beat cornerback Chidobe Awuzie and reeled in Lamar Jackson’s pass.
Two minutes later, Sara sent out a message on X, formerly known as Twitter, that she was taking credit for the play. Agholor has no problem with her claim based on his response in the locker room Thursday.
“First of all, she gets 100 percent of the cupcakes because red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting is my favorite,” Agholor said. “She give me a big ol’ batch of ’em, and, honestly, I’m grateful for Zeit [guard Kevin Zeitler] and Mrs. Zeit.”
The cupcakes could have contributed to any factor that led to the success of the play, Kevin said.
“Maybe the frosting made his hands a little sticker, just a little extra boost of energy out there, who knows?” Kevin said.
Either way, it worked, so he said they need to keep it going — which is funny because the wide receivers were not the intended recipients of Sara’s cupcakes, according to her husband. He said she started making goodies during training camp for the offensive linemen but their teammates noticed. And of course they wanted in on the cupcake hookup.
“The entire team started stealing them and raiding them,” Kevin said. “Basically, recently the receivers and other positions have been asking her, ‘Hey, we want this and this. Could you make us this, please, please?’ So she’s gone out and about making cupcakes and whatever else they want.”
The treats get handed out on Fridays, Kevin said, which creates a nice end to a long week. The team started joking it’s the “magic touch,” but now it has proof. Agholor’s first touchdown could not have been sweeter.
Just like Dad
John Lucas Simpson might have come three weeks early, but he’s already tall. Despite being on the border of being a preterm baby, John Lucas was born 20 inches long, above the 19.7-inch average.
However, at 7 pounds, 6 ounces (under the 7-pound, 8-ounce average), he has a ways to go to catch up to his 6-foot-4, 330-pound father.
John Lucas shares a first name and a surname with his father, a Ravens offensive lineman, and he looks a lot like his dad already. But John Simpson is hoping the difference in middle names helps his son create his own identity.
“Originally, we were going to have him be a junior,” Simpson said. “But we thought about it, and she was like, ‘I don’t know how I feel about that.’ And I was like, ‘Me too. I want him to have his own legacy, in a way.’”
It isn’t a double name, although Simpson said he and his wife are calling him John Lucas right now. Maybe eventually his son will go by Lucas, and that would be OK, too, Simpson said.
John Lucas’s eagerness to greet the world created a bit of chaos. His birth caused Simpson to miss the team’s plane to Cincinnati. Luckily, coach John Harbaugh was understanding, and the team and Simpson’s agent took care of finding him a commercial flight. It was nice to have the stress lifted from his shoulders, but Simpson got only two hours with his son before heading to the airport.
Having to fly Southwest didn’t affect Simpson’s performance. He was part of an offensive line that allowed just one quarterback hit and paved the way for 180 rushing yards. Simpson was awarded a game ball.
Now, Simpson’s enjoying spending time with his firstborn and his wife, Aliyah, in the time between games and practices.
Teaching the teacher
Before he was a head coach, Harbaugh oversaw special teams. One of his hallmarks, even with the Ravens, has been elite specialists and strong special teams.
And even he saw something new Sunday night.
The NFL is still buzzing about a unique play the New England Patriots installed against the Miami Dolphins: lining up defensive back Brenden Schooler on the outside, timing motion to the snap and getting an easily blocked field goal that seemed like it came out of nowhere. The Patriots ran it twice, getting a miss the second time when it seemed as though kicker Jason Sanders was hearing Schooler’s footsteps.
Like the rest of football-watching America, Harbaugh had never seen that play design before — he called the innovation “brilliant.”
“I thought it was a really great play – really well executed,” he said. “They were able to time up the snap operation perfectly well.”
The speculation in the days since the Patriots unveiled it is that other NFL teams might copy the scheme. It would seem especially useful against, say, the most accurate kicker in NFL history.
Justin Tucker watched the block live and called it “game changing.” Harbaugh said the play might be quickly thwarted by changing up the snap count. ESPN TV personality Pat McAfee speculated that the holder might have had a tell that gave away the timing.
But Tucker said he believes other teams will try their own versions to disrupt kicks. And that might even include the Ravens themselves.
“Any time something works and it works really well, it has an impact on the outcome of the game, it would be foolish not to try to install your own version of it,” Tucker said. “I could see other teams doing it. I could see us doing it. And I’ll just leave it at that.”
Baltimore Banner reporters Aron Yohannes and Jonas Shaffer contributed to this article.