Wide receiver Daniel Brown went through quite the whirlwind of emotions during a 30-second stretch of the first quarter Sunday.
The undrafted receiver out of James Madison entered the game for his first play of the day – just the eighth play of his career – and hauled in a 52-yard touchdown for his first NFL catch. But then he looked back toward the line of scrimmage to see a yellow flag on the turf, and the official signaling that Brown had committed offensive pass interference.
Brown's first career touchdown, which would have given the Ravens an early lead, was wiped off the board.
"It's definitely frustrating, but it's the call that the refs made and I just have to accept that," Brown said. "That's the call that they made, and I just have to live with it. It's frustrating because it's my second game, and my first catch, and I could possibly get a touchdown. But you live and learn."
The officials flagged Brown for pushing off cornerback Bobby McCain, who fell to the ground in coverage. Television replays, however, showed that McCain just fell on the play and Brown didn't actually push him to gain separation.
The Ravens were clearly frustrated by the penalty after the 15-13 defeat in Miami.
"I think [the official] got it backwards. I think he got it backwards," Head Coach John Harbaugh said of first-year official Jabir Walker. "He didn't tell me that but based on what I've been told, I haven't seen the play but I've been told by everybody that [McCain] pushed off and fell down and Dan Brown didn't push him off at all. So he must have just got it backwards. He's a rookie and he messed it up."
Brown's touchdown could have made the difference in a game where both teams struggled to put up points. An early lead could have certainly swayed the outcome based on the way the Ravens defense virtually shut down Miami's offense.
Instead, the Ravens ended up punting on the drive.
Brown was able to bounce back later in the game and notch his first career catch on a 17-yard snag in the second half. The 6-foot-5 receiver has flashed potential in his first two games, and he could find himself getting more involved in the offense.
He played seven snaps in his first game against Cleveland, and that number jumped to 19 in Miami. He showed big-play ability with two touchdown catches in the preseason, and put those skills on display again Sunday even if the score didn't count.
"I'm just making a play when my number is called," Brown said. "The coaches trust me to go out there and do what they expect of me. I'm growing and I'm learning. It's a learning process. But I think I'm handling it well, and the more I grow, the more opportunities I'll get."