Despite a difficult ending to the AFC Championship game, Zay Flowers has vowed to return even better next season after being the Ravens' most productive receiver as a rookie.
Flowers led Baltimore with five catches for 115 yards on Sunday, but suffered through some tough moments during the Chiefs' 17-10 victory. After catching a deep pass from Lamar Jackson that became a 54-yard catch and run, Flowers was called for a 15-yard penalty for taunting Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Snead after the play ended.
Four plays later, Flowers made an even bigger mistake when he fumbled after catching another pass from Jackson. Snead punched the ball from Flowers as he was reaching it toward the end zone, and the fumble was recovered by Kansas City's Trent McDuffie.
Had the Ravens scored to pull to within three points with over 14 minutes left to play, perhaps the outcome would have been different. Flowers was dejected after Sunday's game, but at Monday's locker room clean out, he sounded determined not to let the fumble deter him moving forward.
"It's just a moment that will make or break you. I don't plan on letting it break me," Flowers said. "It just teaches you about ups and downs. You could have a lot of ups, then all of a sudden you have a down. It's just how you go about it. The way I'm going to go about it, is to come back better."
Flowers led the Ravens this season in receptions (77) and receiving yards (858) and was seemingly oblivious to the pressure that comes with being a first-round pick. Toughness is in Flowers' DNA, and he plans on tapping into that during the offseason.
"I feel like I've got another step," Flowers said. "I feel like I could be one of the best receivers in this league. I'm not going to let one moment define me. I'll just use that as a slingshot."
Justin Tucker Talks About Pregame Interaction With Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce
A testy moment occurred pregame Sunday when Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce took exception to Ravens kicker Justin Tucker going though his warmups near the Chiefs' goal line.
Tucker said every kicker goes to the opponent's designated warmup area before the game.
"I've been doing the exact same thing for 12 years, never really had a problem with anybody," Tucker said.
Tucker was going through his normal pregame routine when Mahomes asked him to move. Tucker agreed. A few moments later, Kelce was clearly not happy and tossed aside the kicker's helmet and warmup footballs. Mahomes then kicked Tucker's tee.
The interaction went viral on social media, and Tucker gave his side of the story Monday, saying he had no hard feelings.
"I find it kind of silly that we're even having to address it or talk about something that happened before the game that I really don't see as a big deal," Tucker said. "You see us at the coin toss, we're all dapping each other up and then we just get on with the football game.
"I saw Patrick trying to warm up and get some dropbacks, so he asked me while I was on the ground stretching if I could move my helmet. I happily got up and moved my helmet out of the way, at least I thought it was enough out of the way. Then Travis comes over and kicks my stuff and throws my helmet. I thought it was all in good fun, just some gamesmanship all in good fun, but they seemed to be taking it a little bit more seriously. I'm totally willing to let it all go, but I just wanted to explain that. It's what I've done for 12 years. It's not like I'm out there trying to be problematic. I'm just trying to get ready for the game just like they are."
Ronnie Stanley Says His Play Wasn't Up to His Standards
Ronnie Stanley has battled one injury after another since his severe ankle injury in 2020 that required several surgeries.
This season, Stanley missed a total of four games after suffering a knee injury in Week 1 and was clearly not 100%. However, the former All-Pro is not using injuries as an excuse and is determined to play at a higher level in 2024.
"I'm not satisfied, not playing to what my standard is for myself," said Stanley, , who was beaten on a first half sack/strip Sunday. "Being more consistent is something I pride myself on. I've got to keep moving forward and making sure I'm better next year."
Stanley knows the Ravens have a number of pending free agents but hopes Baltimore will keep most of its core group intact.
"I'd want to see as many of the same faces back in this locker room as possible, that's for sure," Stanley said.
Morgan Moses Will Decide If He'll Have Offseason Surgery
Right tackle Morgan Moses was dealing with a shoulder injury that ended his streak of consecutive games played at 134. Moses shared snaps with Daniel Faalele late in the season and indicated he might undergo offseason surgery However, Morgan missed only three games and said he was inspired watching other teammates play through injuries.
"I've got some surgery options to weigh in, but you don't think about that when you come in here every day and you have all these guys laying it on the line, going out there playing hurt," Moses said. "You just give all you can give. I'm excited about what comes in the future."