BALTIMORE — Former North Dakota State linebacker Christ Board had an impactful performance for the Baltimore Ravens in their victory against the New York Giants on Sunday, Dec. 27.
Board had four tackles with two sacks in a 27-13 victory against the Giants at M&T Bank Stadium. His performance helped the Ravens strengthen their position in the AFC Wild Card race with one game remaining in the regular season.
"He has played excellent football," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said in his postgame press conference. "He's becoming a really good inside linebacker. Very rarely do you see the guys who excel on special teams the first couple of years and grow into that not become really good defensive players.
"Chris Board is becoming a regular in our rotation. He's making tackles. He's covering well. I think he's really making a name for himself."
The 6-foot-2, 229-pound Board is in his third season with the Ravens and has played in 15 games this season with 28 total tackles, 2.5 sacks and one pass defended.
The Ravens finished with six sacks against the Giants with Board leading the way.
"It was definitely huge to get all the sacks; six total, that's amazing," Board said. "The coaches definitely put us in position to make plays, and we just went out there and made the plays."
Board played 23 defensive snaps (36%) against the Giants in helping the Ravens win a fourth consecutive game. He also played 17 special teams snaps Sunday.
"It feels really good," Board said of his expanded opportunities on defense. "I'm just trying to go out and do whatever I can to help us win. Whatever is asked of me, I just go out and do it to the best of my ability. It feels really good though."
Board, who was undrafted out of NDSU, has made an impact on special teams for the Ravens throughout his NFL career. Now, he's contributing more on defense, playing at least 23 defensive snaps in each of the past four games.
Board likes the way the Ravens defense is playing heading into the final week of the regular season.
"We're fast, physical, relentless," Board said. "We play hard, and it shows on tape."
Baltimore closes out the regular season at noon Sunday, Jan. 3, at the Cincinnati Bengals. The Ravens earn a playoff spot with a victory. They could also make the playoffs as a wild card if the Cleveland Browns or Indianapolis Colts lose in Week 17.
"I expect Cincinnati to come out and play us hard," Board said. "At the end of the day, we have to win the game to advance, so it's playoff football. We've been playing playoff football the last three or four weeks, so we definitely need to come out, play hard, and we'll see what happens."
Board played for the Bison from 2014-2017, playing in 57 career games. He finished with 124 tackles and was one of team's top special teams player throughout NDSU career. He made 11 starts at linebacker for the Bison during his senior season in 2017.
Former Cobbers WR Zylstra scores first NFL TD
Board wasn't the only NFL player with Fargo-Moorhead ties to have an impact over the weekend.
Former Concordia Cobbers wide receiver Brandon Zylstra scored his first NFL touchdown to help the Carolina Panthers earn a victory against the Washington Football Team at FedEx Field.
Zylstra's score came on special teams during the first quarter of Carolina's 20-13 win. Washington's punt returner Steven Sims was hit as he fielded a punt and the football caromed into the end zone. Zylstra raced toward the loose ball and dove on it in the end zone, giving the Panthers a 6-0 lead with 1 minute, 42 seconds to play in the first quarter.
Zylstra played three offensive snaps and 15 special teams snaps (68%) against Washington.
Zylstra's play helped spark the Panthers to a 20-0 that led the Panthers to the victory. He is in his third season in the NFL and second with the Panthers. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Zylstra played three seasons for the Cobbers from 2013-2015.