One day after the Ravens lost 17-14 to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, the City of Baltimore sent out a search-warrant for wideout Derrick Mason.
The team's leading receiver left the Week 5 contest without a single catch, as Cincinnati bracketed him with two defenders for a majority of the action. The last time Mason did not have at least one catch in a game was on Oct. 15, 2006.
Against the Bengals, quarterback Joe Flacco only threw to his top target once.
A noticeably-frustrated Mason instructed reporters to speak with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron when asked about his lack of production.
"They just played good defense. They played NFL defense," Mason said. "They didn't do anything different from what we practiced for. They played hard. One thing they did, they played hard."
In a Monday press conference, head coach John Harbaugh said there was no particular explanation for Mason's disappearance.
"We're just trying to win a football game, that's what we're trying to do," he simply stated.
The issue goes further than Mason, however.
Flacco completed 22 of 31 passes for 18 yards, adding two interceptions and one touchdown. But, only four of those attempts went to wide receivers.
An explosive offense that went in to the matchup as the NFL's third-ranked unit, featuring 13 pass plays of 20 yards or more, was essentially muzzled.
Flacco connected on two throws of 20 yards to receivers, but aside from Washington's grab, the other was a short dump-off to Clayton who earned most of a 23 yard gain after the catch.
On one of the few times when Flacco did have an open receiver deep, he overthrew Clayton for what would have been a long touchdown.
"We just weren't able to connect," Clayton said. "It was a blown opportunity. We just weren't able to get it. It is what it is. We'll continue to work this week and come out like we know how getting ready for next week."
Said Harbaugh: "[The Bengals] had those guys back, and they were playing coverage like they always do. I thought the corners did a nice job on our guys outside. We had a couple guys deep, and they played well. The secondary played well."
With the undefeated Minnesota Vikings (5-0) up next on the schedule, the Ravens would do well to get Mason – and their other receivers – more involved.
The Vikings have one of the NFL's top defenses, but their pass unit is vulnerable.
Minnesota is ranked 18th in the league after allowing 224.6 yards per game through the air. In addition, their 7.5-yard average per pass play over five games is 22nd.
"I'm sure the Bengals focused on Derrick Mason. I'm sure the Vikings will be focusing on Derrick Mason, too," Harbaugh said of Mason, who paces the Ravens with a 14.9-yard average per grab. "Derrick Mason's a really good player. It's important for us to get all of our guys involved. If one guy's not involved someone else has got to be involved.
"You try to attack them where they're not defending. That's the challenge that we have and as coaches and players we try to do that."
As for Mason speaking out, Harbaugh said he expects the three-time Pro Bowler to voice his opinion following the disappointing outcome.
"Hey, let me tell you something, if you're a really good player and you're not frustrated then I'd be wondering what's going on," Harbaugh said. "That's what good players do, that's how they feel after a loss. They want to do everything they can do to help their team win. That's the way it's supposed to be."