For Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman, Sunday's 19-14 win over the Cincinnati Bengals could be a microcosm of his season so far.
There was a flash of promise with a spectacular touchdown catch, then a big missed opportunity.
The 2015 first-round pick continues to grow – and dazzle, at times – in his first season on the field, but needs to find more consistency. If he finds that, watch out, because Perriman can be dangerous.
"It felt good to go out there and make a big play for the team," Perriman said. "Really, I'm thinking more about the ball I left on the ground out there."
Perriman made a 14-yard touchdown catch to cap the Ravens' opening drive. It was a clutch reception, coming on third-and-5. It was also quite athletic, as Perriman leapt over Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard (another first-round pick), to make the snag in the back of the end zone.
It was just a few feet away from where Perriman* *made a similar leaping touchdown grab in the final minute against the Washington Redskins on Oct. 9, but didn't get his left foot down in bounds. The Ravens lost that game, 16-10.
"You always love a player that learns from those opportunities," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "He has gotten his feet down a couple times since then. Yesterday he got his feet down, and he made a great catch two weeks ago. Those are the kind of plays that we need from Breshad, and he has worked really hard at practice to improve every single game.
"But he is going to be the first one to tell you on that deep crossing route, he wants to make that catch, and he is capable of making that one too. He is a big-play threat. We need to keep building on that for him."
Indeed, Perriman's thoughts after the game were on the play he didn't make.
On a key drive in the second quarter following a pair of turnovers by each team, Flacco went deep for Perriman, who was streaking across the middle of the field. Perriman flashed behind a Bengals defender and laid out to make the grab, but didn't hold on when he hit the ground.
It wasn't an easy ball to reel in, but* *had he made that catch, the Ravens would have been in kicker Justin Tucker's range with a chance for a touchdown. Instead, Baltimore punted after a third-and-7 pass from Cincinnati's 46-yard line fell incomplete.
"You always have a lot of ups and downs," Perriman said of the offense. "We just have to find some consistency."
Part of the issue for Perriman is also getting consistent looks. He was behind the eight-ball after missing his entire rookie season and nearly this year's entire training camp and preseason because of two separate knee injuries.
That hampered his growth with quarterback Joe Flacco, and the two are still not entirely on the same page.
After having three catches for 64 yards and a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns in Week 10, Perriman didn't get a single target the following week in Dallas.
Asked whether his chemistry with Flacco is improving, Perriman said, "I think so."
"I think it's still a work in progress, but it continues to develop," he said. "[The early touchdown] really got me going, and it gave me a confidence boost. That was a good start."
Perriman finished Sunday's game against the Bengals with just the one touchdown catch of 14 yards. It was the Ravens' only touchdown of the game and Perriman's second in three games.
"It's alright, I guess," Perriman said. "I still expect bigger things out of myself, and I'm sure they're going to come."