After it was over and the Ravens were out of last season's playoffs, cornerback Rashaan Melvin didn't treat his disastrous game against the New England Patriots differently than any other.
He watched it three or four times, analyzing every play he was directly involved in, looking for what he should and shouldn't do in his next opportunity.
"You just can't forget about the bad games," Melvin said. "It's part of who you are."
Melvin was targeted 18 times by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the divisional playoffs. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), 14 of those passes were completed for 210 yards, including a 51-yard trick play touchdown to receiver Danny Amendola and a 23-yard game-winning score to receiver Brandon LaFell.
Now Melvin is back and he's aiming to win a starting job. With cornerback Jimmy Smith easing back from a foot injury and fellow cornerback Lardarius Webb not at Organized Team Activities (OTAs), Melvin has been running with the first-team defense.
He's looked solid in OTAs thus far. On Monday, Melvin quickly broke on one sideline pass intended for receiver* *Kamar Aiken to knock it away. After practice, Smith said Melvin is "really underrated and very good."
Melvin plays with an unshakable confidence and competitiveness.
"It's a next play mentality," Melvin said. "Just like in life, things knock you down and you've got to get back up and keep pushing forward. Every game is not going to be your best game and every day isn't going to be your best day. Understanding that has helped me understand that life isn't perfect. You work to become perfect, but life isn't perfect.
"My confidence is sky high right now. I definitely believe in my ability like no other."
There haven't been many big Melvin believers during his football career.
He was a walk-on at Northern Illinois who eventually earned a scholarship. He joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted rookie in 2013. Melvin made their 53-man roster last summer, but was cut two weeks into the season. He joined the Miami Dolphins' practice squad. The Ravens signed him off the Dolphins' practice squad on Nov. 8.
The Ravens saw a 6-foot-2, long, fiesty cornerback when they brought Melvin to the team. He's reminiscent of former Ravens cornerback Cary Williams, who Baltimore got off Tennessee's practice squad before turning him into a Super Bowl XLVII starter. Melvin just needed polish.
Yet when Asa Jackson went down in Week 15, Melvin was suddenly thrust into action. He started the final two regular-season games and both playoff contests. Melvin got positive PFF grades in all four games before he tangled with Brady in New England.
"It was a great time," Melvin said of his first season. "It had its ups and downs, which comes with being in this profession. You're going to have good games and you're going to have bad games. You just have to make sure the good games outweigh the bad ones.
"It just gives me the confidence knowing I can compete and play. It tells me I have a chance to do something special as a Baltimore Raven."
Melvin knows he's going to have tough competition this year for the No. 3 job. He'll face off against veteran free-agent signee Kyle Arrington, Jackson and rookie Tray Walker, among others.
"Everybody wants that No. 3, that No. 2, that No. 1 spot," Melvin said. "Everybody wants to play. And in order for you to play, you have to outwork and beat the other competition. That's what we're looking forward to."