Among the items on Marquise Brown's to-do list of the 2021 season was to top 1,000 receiving yards. He checked that off, but he didn't finish the season pleased.
Brown posted 1,008 receiving yards and 91 catches in his third season. That's the 26th-most receiving yards in the league.
It's strong production and another year in which Brown took a step forward. He had 46 receptions for 584 yards as a rookie and 58 grabs for 769 yards as a sophomore.
But the downside is that Brown was on pace for a lot more. Through the first eight games, Brown was averaging 85 yards per game and 1,449 yards over the course of the season.
In his final eight games, Brown's high mark for receiving yards was 55. He didn't score a touchdown over the final nine games and had a tough finale versus the Steelers in which a touchdown slipped through his hands and a late long pass knocked out of his arms.
"I feel like I had a weak 1,000 yards," Brown said. "But I'm grateful, thankful. But definitely not how I wanted to end the season.
"We started the season off good. One of the key things I talked about was consistency, and I feel like the later half of the season wasn't that consistent. So, for me, I'm going to go back to work and come back, and … 1,000 yards is really just like a base. That's just … [I] really want to get in the playoffs, win Super Bowls and become a better player."
The Ravens will have a decision to make with Brown this offseason. As he enters his fourth season, Baltimore will have to decide whether it will pick up the first-round pick's fifth-year option, which is projected to be around $13 million for 2023.
Brown certainly became a better player in 2021. He caught more intermediate and shorter passes and displayed more run-after catch toughness. Brown's speed and his deep ball tracking ability are still elite, and he burnt the Broncos, Colts and Bengals for long touchdowns early in the season.
But when the Miami Dolphins used a relentless blitz to force the ball to get out quicker, while still backing up their cornerbacks to prevent one-on-one deep shots, it made life harder for the speedster Brown. Opponents took many of those big-play opportunities away over the second half of the season.
Entering his fourth season, Brown knows he'll have to continue to evolve his game to win in more ways.
"I want to get even bigger, stronger, faster," Brown said. "And just keep working on my route running. We're getting moved around with the offense. [I want to] work on my routes from the inside, work on my routes from the outside, work on contested catches, and just really everything that I possibly can get better at by the time September comes back around."