Crabtree places blame for loss on himself
CLEVELAND — It was by no means an easy catch, but it’s one Michael Crabtree expects himself to make.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco looked the wide receiver’s way over the middle with one minute left in the game as Baltimore faced a third-and-10 inside the red zone. The coverage was tight, requiring Flacco to put the ball up and away to avoid defenders. Crabtree leapt and extended his arms. He was able to get his hands on the football, but unable to haul in the catch in the back of the end zone.
The Ravens settled for a game-tying field goal with 56 second left to force overtime, where they ultimately fell, 129, to the Cleveland Browns in FirstEnergy Stadium.
“If I had just made that catch, the game would have been over,” Crabtree said.
Flacco called it “one of those tight plays” that he needed to see on film before commening on.
“I’m sure it could have gone either way,” he said.
Crabtree was much more certain what happened.
“I had a game winner I could have caught and I put that on me,” he said. “I’m a team player. Letting them down, it hurt me. I have to go back to the drawing board and get my stuff together.”
The final incompletion capped a disappointing day for the veteran wide receiver. Crabtree also dropped a pair of passes in the first quarter.
“These guys are pros,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “These guys are the best players in the world, so they go to work on that every day. Michael will work on that.”
Crabtree said he plans to do just that. His drops, he said, were just a matter of concentration.
“That’s all it is,” Crabtree said. “You have to see the ball to catch the ball. I need to see it all the way in. If that means that I have to catch 2,000 footballs a week in practice, then I am going to have to do that.”
Crabtree still led the Ravens in receiving yards (66) and tied for the most on the team with six receptions, though he was targeted on six more attempts.
The possession that resulted with Crabtree unable to make a touchdown catch in the final minute of regulation began with back-to-back receptions by the wide receiver. Flacco completed to Crabtree for 6 yards on the first play of the drive, then went right back to him for a gain of 19 yards the next play. The final play is that one that fans will likely remember, but the consecutive completions were vital in setting up Justin Tucker’s 32-yard field goal to force overtime.
Cleveland Browns defensive back Denzel Ward (21) breaks up a pass intended for Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, in Cleveland.