Breshad Perriman Knows He Must Attack Ball to Make Big Plays


Breshad Perriman is 6-foot-2, 215 pounds and runs like a deer. That's a big reason why the Ravens made him a first-round pick in 2015.

So when there's a ball thrown to him deep down the middle of the field, Perriman knows that's exactly the kind of play he's built to make.

Yet, Perriman failed to make that type of catch during Sunday's 23-20 loss in Tennessee. And worse, it led to another costly interception in a tightly-contested game.

"I'm somewhat of a bigger receiver," Perriman said. "So those plays like that when it's hanging in the air for a while, you have to go up and make."

It was an especially big opportunity for Perriman. The Ravens were tied, 3-3, in the first quarter and facing a first-and-10 from their own 30-yard line. Perriman had just made an 8-yard first-down catch.

This was a shot to prove himself, and perhaps break out of his season-long slump.

The Titans were in quarters defense and Perriman knew from the coverage that the ball was coming to him. He ran a deep post and Flacco dropped the pass perfectly between a pair of defenders. Perriman's mistake was he tried to catch it over his shoulder on the run.

The ball hit Perriman in the hands, and he may have caught it, except he was almost immediately blasted by Titans cornerback Logan Ryan. That sent the ball back into the air, where it was picked off by safety Kevin Byard, who leads the league in interceptions.

There was an element of bad luck because most* *of the time, that ball falls harmlessly to the ground instead of getting picked. But Perriman said knows he should have approached that catch differently.

"I definitely have to go up and get the ball at the highest point," he said.

The interception happened at the Titans' 21-yard line. A catch by Perriman would've put Baltimore in scoring position with a good chance of going on top early. Instead, Tennessee scored a touchdown three plays later and never relinquished the lead.

It's been a difficult year for the third-year receiver, and one that he continues to learn from.

In a Week 6 loss to the Chicago Bears, Perriman was open for a big play, but the pass bounced off his hands just before he was crushed by a Bears defender. Just like in Tennessee, the ball bounced up and was picked off. The hit left Perriman concussed and knocked him out of the following week's game.

Later in that same Chicago game, a Flacco pass went off Chris Moore's pads and was picked off and returned for a touchdown.

"Contested catch turnovers have hurt us," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "We can't have contested catch turnovers for interceptions. It's cost us games."

After missing his entire rookie season because of a knee injury, Perriman had 33 catches for 499 and three touchdowns last year as a sophomore. The Ravens hoped to see a breakout this season, but Perriman's numbers have gone the opposite direction.

He entered Sunday's game with four catches for 26 yards in the first half of the season. The Ravens have continued to say that they need Perriman to get going to have more offensive success, and he had his best chance yet in Tennessee.

Perriman saw a season-high seven targets. He caught three passes for 28 yards against the Titans, which nearly doubled his receptions and more than doubled his yardage this season. By comparison, Jeremy Maclin had eight catches for 98 yards on nine targets in Tennessee.

For the year, Perriman has caught seven of the 26 passes that have come his way. Harbaugh said the Ravens didn't specifically try to get Perriman more involved in the offense.

"I don't know if there was an emphasis," he said. "I think he came up in the progressions."

Asked whether the deep ball to Perriman is a play he has to make to turn things around, Harbaugh agreed with the reporter, but said Perriman isn't alone. As a whole, the Ravens receivers haven't been making many big plays.

After putting up more than 1,000 yards last season, Mike Wallace has 20 catches for 267 yards in eight games played. He caught four passes for 19 yards and a touchdown against the Titans.

"All the receivers have to make plays," Harbaugh said. "When you get the ball thrown to you down the field, you have to go up and make a play; that's what receivers do. [Perriman] knows that. He made a few plays for us on the sideline."

Following the interception, Perriman made a couple nice catches to help Baltimore have a chance of tying the game at the end.

It's been a trying first half of the year, but Perriman knows he has to keep his head up and keep trying to work his way through it. He has no other option.

"I've been there before," Perriman said. "You have to put it behind you and keep balling."

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