Smiles filled the Ravens sideline late in the 4th quarter last night as the team improved to 5-4 and claimed sole possession of first place in the AFC North.
The defense played another complete game and the offense did enough to survive. The feel-good story of the night belonged to wide receiver Breshad Perriman, who hauled in a 27-yard touchdown pass in the final quarter for his first NFL score.
“I told him that I am proud of him,” veteran teammate Steve Smith Sr. said. “He gets so much criticism. So much energy is put into critiquing and correcting and criticizing coaching that you have to give that same amount of energy to encourage and congratulate.
“I know people are saying, ‘He is not playing up to his expectations as a first-round draft pick’ like Breshad woke up one morning and said, ‘Hey I am going to injure my knee.’ He didn’t. He has battled his tail off, and he is a young man who has dealt with adversity right out of the gate.
“When he first injured his knee, it was like the second day of training camp. Nobody expects that. He is a young man who had not really had to deal with that before, so that is tough. Being injured, people forget during the rehab what you go through mentally. To see how he stayed the course and really how he worked his butt off and kept chopping wood and kept his head down and not complain … A lot of people do not see that.
“I am always the first guy to say, ‘Hey, you have to appreciate what he is doing.’”
Perriman has silently taken his fair share of criticism since being selected in the first round by the Ravens in 2015. The organization chose to put the 26th overall pick in a bad predicament with the way they opted to publicly handle his so-called knee injury. Now though, we all hope that’s in the past.
“Oh, man it was big,” said a smiling Perriman of his score. “It was a complete blessing. I’ve been working for it for a long time and finally it came today.”
After being denied his first touchdown (called back after review showed he was out of bounds) in the game against Washington earlier this season, Perriman again had to watch the officials review a scoring play. His acrobatic reception drove the nail into the Browns coffin.
“Honestly, I think one of my teammates had asked me if I had caught the ball, and I was kind of shocked,” stated Perriman. “I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ So, I didn’t think it touched the ground at all.
“I didn’t know if it did or it didn’t, in my mind I just knew it was a touchdown.”
The touchdown was the icing on the cake for the second-year wideout, as he hauled in three receptions for a team-leading 64 yards.
The Ravens recorded their second straight win and while the offense wasn’t pretty, at times it did provide confidence for a unit that’s under scrutiny. Perriman understands the importance of continuing to build on his performance last night and not getting caught up in his special moment.
“Just continue to build day-in-and-day-out, and be more consistent as an offense.”
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