The best catch by a Ravens wide receiver in Week 9 was made by Chris Moore.
It came during the first quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Moore leaped high in the air over Steelers safety Morgan Burnett to snag the football for a 30-yard gain, setting up a Justin Tucker field goal.
It was good coverage by Burnett, but it was a pinpoint throw by Joe Flacco and a spectacular grab by Moore, the Ravens’ longest play from scrimmage. Yet, that was the only time Moore was targeted. He is often the odd man out in the Ravens’ wide receiver rotation, on the depth chart behind John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead IV.
Whether Moore will play a larger role in the offense after the bye remains to be seen. But Moore is doing everything to show that if called upon, he will be ready.
“I just like to show that I can make big plays,” Moore said. “It’s just another catch that shows people that I’m out here and I can make plays. I’m capable of doing that. When it was my chance to make plays I did. I wish we had a better outcome with the end of the game, but when my opportunities came, I made the most of them.”
Moore enjoyed a strong training camp and preseason, securing his position on the roster as a wide receiver and the team’s primary kickoff returner (six for 140 yards). Nothing has been handed to Moore since he joined the Ravens as a fourth-round pick in 2016. Plenty of receivers have moved on since Moore arrived, like Breshad Perriman, Michael Campanaro, Kamar Aiken, Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin to name a few.
Each of those players was ahead of Moore on the depth chart at one point or another. But Moore has survived and preserved, and with the Ravens (4-5) riding a three-game losing streak, perhaps the catch will lead to more opportunities when the team returns from its bye.
Moore never complains about his role, but like any receiver, he would love to see more passes thrown his way. He has been targeted 15 times and has made 12 catches for 128 yards. Moore was on the field for just 24 offensive snaps Sunday (39.3 percent), and he has only reached 50 percent of the snaps in two of nine games.
“It gets a little frustrating at times, but I’m a team player,” Moore said. “Whatever the team needs me to do to help them win, that’s what I’m here for. If I need to be just out there on special teams, that’s what I’m going do. Whenever I get on offense and have an opportunity to make plays, I will.”
However, making Moore a larger part of the offense is not an easy proposition. Snead leads the team in catches (45), Brown leads in receiving yards (601), and Crabtree leads in targets (76). If Moore gets more reps, whose reps will be decreased? Meanwhile, with tight end Hayden Hurst healthy, the Ravens may increase their usage of two tight-end formations featuring Hurst and Mark Andrews, Hurst and Nick Boyle, or Andrews and Boyle.
Moore was a playmaker in college at Cincinnati and the Ravens need an offensive spark wherever they can find one. All of three of Moore’s career touchdowns came last season, when he caught 18 passes for 238 yards. He hopes to surpass those numbers this season, and with seven games left, there is still time.
“It’s just a matter of when that ball comes to me, I’ve just got to make that play,” Moore said.