It's difficult not to notice when a single player racks up six catches for 211 yards and two touchdowns in the second half -- as New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. did in Sunday's 27-23 win against the Ravens.
Coach John Harbaugh admitted Monday that the defense fell short in its stated goal of being aware of Beckham's presence.
"We should have done a better job with him," Harbaugh said. "There were times when we said we were going to know where he's at at all times and we didn't know where he was at at all times. That's not OK."
On Beckham's game-winning touchdown for 66 yards with New York going for it on fourth-and-1 from the 34-yard line, he got free when he ran rookie cornerback Tavon Young into strong safety Eric Weddle and then outraced three more defenders to the end zone. Harbaugh said defensive coordinator Dean Pees had called for man coverage with the linebackers pressing up to end the Giants drive and end the game.
"If you look at the call itself, if you want to put people back there to keep him from going to the house, we could play spot drop cover 3 or spot drop cover 2. Tackle him, the drive continues on," Harbaugh explained. "Dean's thinking there is, 'It's fourth-and-1. Let's win the game right now. We bat a ball down, he throws one high, he throws one low, someone gets in the throwing lane, and we win the game, you're off the field, it's done.' It was an aggressive call. It wasn't played very well. You could say it wasn't a good call because of the result if you want, but that was the idea behind the call."
Harbaugh said the defense played decently with the exception of four plays – Beckham's touchdown catches of 75 and 66 yards, wide receiver Roger Lewis Jr.'s scoring reception of 24 yards, and Beckham's 43-yard catch that led to a Giants field goal and a 20-16 advantage.
"The whole thing about our defense right now, if you want to talk about our defense, is four plays," Harbaugh said. "It's four plays that have to be played better, schemed better, and it can't happen. When we don't allow those things to happen, we're giving up 260, 270 yards a game. When you allow those things to happen to you, someone throws for 400 on you. It's the same thing that happened the first eight games last year that we got corrected. It's the same thing that cannot continue to happen. It's not going to continue to happen. The guys who allow it to happen are not going to be out there."
End zone: Despite getting burned for long touchdown passes to Lewis and Beckham in Sunday's loss, Young insisted he would use those plays as motivation for the remainder of the season. "It's the NFL," he said. "You're going to give up plays. Beckham is a great receiver. Just got to make plays and get better each and every week." … Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger underwent arthroscopic surgery Monday to repair torn meniscus in his left knee suffered in the second quarter of a 30-15 loss at the Miami Dolphins. Roethlisberger, who leads the league in touchdown passes (16) and ranks seventh in passing yards (1,685), will miss the team's next game against the New England Patriots, but his status for a Nov. 6 showdown with the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium is uncertain. … The Ravens remain in second place in the AFC North as Pittsburgh, the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns all lost on Sunday. The division is an NFL-worst 9-15 thus far.