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Looking for a Rebound Season, Jeremy Maclin Starts With a Bang

Posted Sep 11, 2017

New Ravens wide receiver Jeremy Maclin scored a 48-yard touchdown on a well-designed pick play with tight end Benjamin Watson. Maclin is already halfway to his touchdown total from last year.

Ravens wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is trying to pull the same move Mike Wallace did last year, and he’s off to a good start.

Wallace scored a 66-yard touchdown in his first game as a Raven last year against the Buffalo Bills. Maclin scored a 48-yard touchdown in Sunday’s regular-season opener in Cincinnati.

Maclin’s breakaway score gave the Ravens a 10-point first-half lead in a 20-0 win over the Bengals.

The veteran wide receiver worked with tight end Benjamin Watson on a well-designed pick play that tied up Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard and left Maclin wide open.

The Ravens were facing a third-and-7 and Flacco knew he was going to target Maclin if the Bengals defense showed an all-out blitz. The Bengals lined up without any safeties deep, and Flacco audibled to the play.

In the back of my head, I just hoped nobody drops [into coverage],” Maclin said. “They came with pressure and he was able to hit me in stride.”

Maclin raced untouched to the end zone, holding the ball out in front of him in celebration. His lack of practice time with Flacco – just a handful of practices – didn’t hinder that connection.

“Any time you get a chance to play with Joe, you’re always going to enjoy it,” Maclin said.

The similarities between Wallace and Maclin’s situations are striking.

Wallace was cut by the Minnesota Vikings after the worst season of his career. He rebounded with the Ravens, leading them in receiving yards with 1,017 last season. It was his first 1,000-yard season since 2011.

Maclin joined Baltimore this offseason after being surprisingly released by the Kansas City Chiefs following a year in which he set career-lows in receptions (44), receiving yards (536) and touchdowns (2). He’s now already halfway to last year’s touchdown total.

Maclin will be a major part of Baltimore’s offense, which looks like it will rely on big plays in the passing game and a ground-and-pound run game

The Ravens still often used Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman as their outside receivers. Maclin often lined up in the slot, and was occasionally used as a diversion as a runner on a jet sweep.

Maclin saw four of Flacco’s 17 targets, tied for the most with Perriman. Running back Danny Woodhead caught three passes on the team’s opening drive, but suffered a hamstring injury and didn’t return.

Maclin also hauled in an 8-yard pass, finishing with two catches for 56 yards and the touchdown. He was open on a long third-down pass that Flacco said after the game he wishes he could have back. Maclin got open but the pass fell short.

“Cincinnati has played some very good ball against us here, so [a win] is the most important thing,” Maclin said. “The touchdown was the icing on the cake.”

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