CLEVELAND — Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Michael Crabtree accepted the blame for the 12-9 overtime loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday after dropping two passes and letting a potential winning touchdown pass bounce off his hands in the end zone.
“Put this game one me,” Crabtree said as he picked up his bag and left the locker room.
Crabtree was the Ravens’ biggest offensive free-agent signing this year because Baltimore needed a wide receiver who could catch contested passes.
But with Baltimore trailing 9-6 with a minute left in regulation, a leaping Crabtree was unable to hold on to a perfectly thrown Joe Flacco pass in the back of the end zone. It wasn’t an easy catch to make, but Crabtree believed he should’ve pulled it in.
“I had a game-winner I could have caught. I put that on me,” Crabtree said. “I’m going to have to get back in the lab and get back to the basics. You know what I’m saying? That’s just what’s going on.”
Crabtree’s drops have become a recurring trend this season. He was unable to hold onto two passes in the first two drives, one of which came on third down.
His six drops this season are the most in the NFL. He said the problem is concentration, and he will get this fixed even if he has to catch 2,000 balls a week at practice.
“I’m a team player,” Crabtree said. “I know you guys know that. Letting them down, you know what I’m saying, that kind of hurt me. I have to go back to the drawing board, man, and get my s— together.”
Crabtree finished with six catches for 66 yards, which is a season-best in a disappointing season. But drops have been an issue with Crabtree throughout his career. Since being the No. 10 overall pick in the 2009 draft, Crabtree has 56 dropped passes. Only Brandon Marshall has more over that span with 64.
Asked how to handle a receiver who is dropping passes, coach John Harbaugh said, “These guys are pros. These guys are the best players in the world, so they go to work on that every day. Michael will work on that.”
Flacco put the Ravens’ first loss to the Browns since 2015 more on the officials, not Crabtree.
On Baltimore’s first possession of overtime, running back Alex Collins broke a 17-yard run that was called back for a block above the waist on receiver Chris Moore. Without that penalty, the Ravens would’ve been in position for a Justin Tucker 53-yard field goal.
“We won the game there — as far as I’m concerned — at the end of the game and they called a block in the back on Chris when the guy is out of position and gets cut back on,” Flacco said. “It was kind of bogus I thought, but what are you going to do?”
The Ravens (3-2) fell one game back on the Cincinnati Bengals (4-1) in the AFC North.