In a season that has been difficult, and seen numerous wide receivers go down with injuries, Ravens wideout Kamar Aiken has been a definite bright spot.
That was put on display once again Sunday in the Ravens' 34-14 loss at M&T Bank Stadium.
Aiken had a career day, posting single-game career-highs in catches (eight) and receiving yards (128). It was his first career 100-yard game.
And he did most of the damage in just one half. Aiken had six catches for 117 yards and a touchdown in the first half – capped off by the game's most thrilling play on a 48-yard Hail Mary catch.
"I'm not surprised," Aiken said. "I'm very confident in myself and my abilities. … I've been putting in the work, week in and week out, since the offseason, throughout the season. It's not going to stop."
Aiken started his day with a leaping 30-yard catch along the right sideline, setting the Ravens up for a touchdown on their opening drive. Aiken has shown a better knack for making long sideline plays as the season has progressed.
But no catch could outshine his Hail Mary.
The Ravens were at* *Kansas City's 48-yard line when quarterback Jimmy Clausen heaved the ball toward the end zone. The pass fell shorter than the Chiefs anticipated and Aiken was the first to react to it. He cut underneath three Chiefs defenders to make the grab and scamper into the end zone.
"I was just gauging where they were and where the ball was, and I noticed it was going to come up a little short. Their DBs were still back-pedaling, so I said it was my play to make."
"That No. 11 [Kamar Aiken], by the way, is a heck of a player," Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid added. "I saw him after the game and told him that. Not just on that play, but just in general a good football player."
Aiken also made plays of 19 and 10 yards in the first half. At the start of the second half, Clausen immediately targeted Aiken once again on the Ravens' first play from scrimmage.
The two have built some chemistry as Aiken posted what was then a career-high 90 receiving yards last week against the Seattle Seahawks.
"He's just a playmaker," Clausen said.
The team's leading receiver this season, Aiken has been consistently getting the job done since Steve Smith Sr. went down for the season with an Achilles tear.
Since then, Aiken has now logged seven straight games with at least five catches, which was tied for the third-longest such streak entering the game. Only Derrick Mason (eight games in 2007) has a longer streak in Ravens franchise history.
Over that period, Aiken has posted 43 catches for 531 yards and three touchdowns, averaging an impressive 75.9 receiving yards per game. He now leads the Ravens in all receiving categories with 62 catches, 802 yards and five touchdowns.
"At this point of the season, you love to see everyone fighting no matter what," guard Marshal Yanda said.
"Obviously, Kamar is a good example of that. He is just fighting his tail off every single play. No matter if we're down or up or we are 14-0 or 0-14, you're going to get consistent play from him. He's showing up as a consistent player."
Aiken wasn't getting too gushy after his career day, however. At the post-game press conference afterwards, Aiken sounded like he had one of his worst career days.
"Personally, my whole thing is I'd rather win a game," Aiken said. "I'd rather have 10 yards and have a 'W' than have 100-some yards with a loss. That's just me personally."