In the lead-up to what was eventually a Monday night blowout, Marcus Peters made clear to everyone that the game against the Los Angeles Rams was just another contest.
Technically, that's true. The Ravens, now 9-2, still have five more games left, plus at least one playoff game.
But sometimes in life, people say things to achieve a certain reaction from those looking on, even if deep down, it's not true. And after Peters intercepted his former teammate, Rams quarterback Jared Goff, late Monday night, it became clear that this was not just another game.
Peters might not have an ax to grind with his former teammates in L.A., but could with the newcomer who almost immediately replaced him and was the reason Peters had to move across the country in the middle of the regular season. After intercepting Goff, Peters was caught by ESPN cameras shouting "Jalen!" toward the Rams' defense and sticking his tongue out, taunting cornerback Jalen Ramsey, whom the Rams acquired just hours after sending Peters to Baltimore in a stunning deal.
In fact, it was definitely about Ramsey, who didn't appreciate being taunted. Peters spent the usual postgame meeting at midfield hugging a few former Rams teammates and swapping jerseys with Rams running back Todd Gurley, but was approached by Ramsey, who had choice words for Peters. The two were quickly separated, but Ramsey had to be restrained after attempting to go after Peters again in the tunnel that the two teams must share to exit the field.
Ramsey was again provoked by Peters, who had plenty to say to Rams players in what the Baltimore Sun called an "expletive-filled rant" during the walk up the tunnel:
Ramsey refused to comment on the altercation afterward.
"If y'all have some questions about the game, I'll answer that," Ramsey said. "Other than that I'm not going to answer that."
The Ramsacquired Ramsey, who had made it quite clear he was done playing in Jacksonville, in a deal that included Los Angeles sending two first-round picks to the Jaguars in exchange for the demonstrative, shutdown corner. They did so only after making room for him by sending Peters to Baltimore for much less: linebacker Kenny Young and an undisclosed pick.
The results have not matched the compensation. Peters has shined in Baltimore, recording three interceptions (including two pick-sixes), five passes defended and 26 tackles in just five games played as a Raven. While Baltimore shreds opponents offensively, Peters embodies a defense that has made a significant in-season turnaround after giving up 40 points to the Cleveland Browns way back in Week 4, Baltimore's last loss in 2019.
Ramsey, meanwhile, was brought in to help a Rams team that had officially acknowledged the choppy waters it faced after just three wins in six games. Since his arrival, the Rams have won three of their last five and led the league in scoring defense from Weeks 7-11, allowing an average of just 11 points per game.
That vanished Monday night, when Lamar Jackson and Co. eviscerated Los Angeles' defense to the tune of 45 points, 480 yards and a passer rating of 137.3.
Los Angeles' boom or bust defensive tendency came back to hurt the Rams on Monday, and Peters made sure his former teammates wouldn't forget how it happened -- with him on the other sideline, grinning, and his replacement left only to try to respond with words afterward.