A lot of players’ breakout games are met with excitement. For Breshad Perriman, it was relief.
The Ravens’ much-maligned 2015 first-round pick led all receivers in Thursday night’s game with three catches for 71 yards, including a beautiful 32-yard touchdown.
For a player that has been waiting for something – anything – to go his way, there’s hope that Thursday night’s performance in the Ravens’ 33-7 win could be just what he’s needed.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster,” Perriman said. “Back in the end zone for what, the first time in two years?”
Perriman’s young career has been full of bumps and bruises – both literally and figuratively.
He missed his entire rookie season because of a slow-healing knee injury. Another knee injury stunted his sophomore season, but he had modest production with 33 catches for 499 yards and three scores.
More injuries in last year’s training camp led to a slow start. Then several brutal drops completely buried him on the depth chart. He finished on the bench with just 10 catches for 77 yards on the year.
The Ravens didn’t pick up his fifth-year option, and he enters his fourth season firmly on the roster bubble.
He didn’t flash much this offseason, then had about as bad a start as he could have imagined in the preseason opener, as a pass on the Ravens’ first offensive drive of the year clanked off his hands and was intercepted.
Perriman entered Thursday night’s game after some of his other peers competing for the final wide receiver roster spots. Once he got there, though, Perriman flashed the potential that has long been hiding inside his speedy 6-foot-2 frame.
On his touchdown, he blew by Rams safety Ramon Richards, then adjusted to Robert Griffin III’s throw, leapt and made the catch over the defender, holding on with one arm. Head Coach John Harbaugh said Perriman’s performance was the story of the night.
“Obviously, he is taking a lot of heat,” Harbaugh said. “He has been under siege – and that’s part of it. He understands that more than anybody. But I think he deserves a lot of credit for the way he has handled it. He has handled it professionally on the outside, but also on the inside.
“He has worked really hard at his craft, and to see it pay off with a game like tonight’s … I’m just really happy for him. He deserves it.”
Beyond the troubles on the field, Perriman has also struggled with challenges off it. His father, Brett, who also played in the NFL, nearly died from a stroke. His best friend on the team, Tray Walker, died in a motorbike accident in 2016.
Perriman still carries those scars with him. In the locker room after Thursday night’s game, he wore a T-shirt memorializing Walker.
But he’s also learned he has to move on from pains and failures of the past. And getting over last week’s dropped pass/interception was just the latest.
“I never really looked back at it again. Once I dropped it, I just kept moving,” Perriman said. “I feel like I’m moving in the right direction.”
So was it a relief? Yeah, in a way, Perriman admitted.
“But I feel like I still want more from myself. I feel like that’s just a taste, because I know what I can do," Perriman said.
"I just worry about me and myself. I control that, for the most part. If I focus on me and my game, and play with all my God-given ability, I won’t have any worries.”
Gallery: Ravens vs. Rams Preseason Action
Check out the best shots from Thursday night's preseason game between the Ravens and visiting Los Angeles Rams.