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Michael Crabtree Addresses Drops After Self-Inflicted Wounds Cost Ravens in Cleveland

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The Ravens gave the Browns a lot of credit for a hard-fought win Sunday, but also know they made plenty of costly mistakes

Baltimore struggled with dropped passes, turned the ball over twice, had a field goal blocked and was called for ill-timed penalties late in the 12-9 overtime loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Arguably the biggest miscue came from veteran wide receiver Michael Crabtree, whose drops continue to be an issue. He dropped three passes on the day, including a potential game-winning touchdown at the end of regulation.

The potential touchdown hit off Crabtree’s outstretched hands in the back of the end zone, and the Ravens had to settle for a field goal to send the game to overtime.

“It was a tough one. We started off slow. I put that on me. I had a game winner I could have caught. I put that on me,” Crabtree said. “I’m a team player, so letting them down, that kind of hurt me. I need to go back to the drawing board and get my [stuff] together.”

Crabtree has the most drops in the NFL through the first five weeks. The veteran receiver is known for having strong hands and making contested catches, but the drops have consistently been a problem early in the year.

“It’s concentration,” Crabtree said. “You got to see the ball to catch the ball, and I need to see it all the way in. If that takes me going to catch 2,000 balls a week, I’m going to have to do that.

“It came down to the end and I should have made that catch and the game would have been over. I just worry about me and what I can control, and that’s what’s going on.”

On a day when the offense struggled to move the football, the Ravens made life even tougher on themselves with the drops and turnovers. Quarterback Joe Flacco threw an interception at Cleveland’s goal line and running back Buck Allen fumbled.

The interception, which came off a tipped ball, took early points off the board in a game where the Ravens couldn’t afford to miss out on scoring chances. Flacco said he was trying to throw the ball away at tight end Nick Boyle’s feet as he was under quick pressure.

“It was just one of those unfortunate ones,” Flacco said. “I was just trying to get the ball out of my hands and go to the next down, to be honest with you.”

The Ravens mostly played penalty-free football throughout the game, but late penalties cost them dearly. The most significant was a block in the back call on wide receiver Chris Moore in overtime, which negated a 17-yard run by Alex Collins. The run would have put the Ravens at the 30-yard line and well into field-goal range for kicker Justin Tucker.

The penalty call was certainly questionable, as Moore didn’t make much contact with the defender, and Flacco took exception to the call.

“We won the game there, as far as I’m concerned, at the end of the game, and they call a block in the back on Chris when the guy is out of position and gets cut back on,” Flacco said. “That was kind of bogus, I thought, but what are you going to do?”

Baltimore was also called for a holding call on a punt return in overtime, which pinned the offense deep in its own territory to start a drive. The Ravens ended up having to punt on that drive.

Special teams miscues have been an issue this season, particularly when it comes to blocking on field goals and punts. Tucker had another field goal blocked on Sunday when Browns rookie cornerback Denzel Ward ran around the edge and dove to block the 48-yard kick at the end of the first half, keeping the Browns ahead, 6-3.

“They timed up the snap and got a great jump, and I thought it was a great play by their guy,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

The loss dropped the Ravens to 3-2 on the season and it was just the third time Baltimore has lost to Cleveland in the Harbaugh era. The Ravens will now head to Nashville next weekend in another critical AFC matchup with the Titans.

“We go back to work and try to find a way to win the next one,” Harbaugh said.

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