The football kept ricocheting off the hands of Ravens tight ends Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark, falling to the ground in a series of frustrating, lost opportunities.
During the Ravens' 49-27 blowout loss to the Denver Broncos to open the NFL season, Dickson and Clark struggled to secure accurate throws from quarterback Joe Flacco.
It wasn't a promising night as they seek to replace the production of injured starting tight end Dennis Pitta, who's on the injured reserve-designated to return list after undergoing right hip surgery.
Dickson caught just one pass for 13 yards, but was targeted five times and had an unofficial drop count of four. It was his first game since last season due to a partially torn right hamstring that sidelined him during the preseason.
"It's definitely embarrassing to lose this way," Dickson said. "Nobody is perfect, but I got to make those plays. I'm more harsh on myself than anybody. Those plays over the middle, I got to catch it and get down.
"Those are plays that I'm not putting on nobody but myself. I don't blame it on Joe, I don't blame it on nobody but myself. Those plays will be made. It's a long season."
And Clark, a former Pro Bowl selection with the Indianapolis Colts, displayed obvious signs of rust. The 34-year-old got hit hard by Broncos safety Rahim Moore on one pass breakup and was shaken up before continuing to play.
Clark also dropped a potential touchdown pass in the red zone in the second quarter.
“It’s disappointing and you have to get the next one," Clark said.
Clark was targeted a dozen times, yet caught just seven passes for 87 yards.
“Yeah, obviously it’s frustrating," Clark said. "It’s disappointing. First game you want to come out and play well, and we just didn’t make enough plays to give us a chance. We just have to keep everything in perspective. It’s week one, we have one loss and we have to move on. We just didn’t make enough plays to put ourselves in a position to win the game.”
This wasn't the kind of performance the Ravens envisioned. Flacco loves to throw to the tight ends. Going to them are some of his favorite throws. It's imperative that they come through on a regular basis. This kind of game can't become routine.
"We let it get away from us, we didn't make those plays over the middle," Dickson said. "As tight ends, we have to put it on ourselves and make those plays when it counts over the middle. We're going to get hit no matter what.
"A couple of those plays, I could have made over the middle. At the end, it only counts as one loss. We can't dwell on it and let it affect us for next week. We have to take care of business and correct our mistakes."