Even before officials had ruled that C.J. Mosley fumbled his interception return just a couple feet before crossing the goal line in the third quarter of the Ravens' 16-10 loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday, the inside linebacker already knew the mistake he had made. And his error was compounded by injuring his hamstring as he attempted to dive for the pylon in the front left corner of the end zone.
"I knew immediately," Mosley said. "So on top of the hamstring and then that, that was a tough one, a tough break."
The play proved critical. Instead of the Ravens taking a 16-13 lead with 6:09 left in the period, the touchback returned possession to Washington, which began the ensuing series at the 20-yard line. Eleven plays and 72 yards later, Dustin Hopkins converted a 27-yard field goal to give the Redskins a 16-10 advantage that would hold until the end of the game.
Mosley made a sensational play on his team-leading third interception of the season. Reading quarterback Kirk Cousins' eyes on second-and-8 from Washington's 3-yard line, Mosley dropped back and leaped to snare Cousins' pass to tight end Jordan Reed on a quick slant.
Mosley wove his way 12 yards, but with less than a yard left before scoring what would have been his first career touchdown, he lost control of the ball.
"Two hands on the ball. That's all I can say," Mosley said. "Tried to make a good play, and it ended up backfiring. So if I ever get the chance again, I know not to dive with one hand."
Coach John Harbaugh did not fault Mosley's effort, but rued the execution.
"You have to hold onto the ball there," he said. "Take two hands over the top of the pylon – that would be a technique coaching point. Other guys do it with one hand and hold onto the football. That's a very costly [play]. Not only do you lose the turnover, you lose 19 yards of field position. I think it's a crazy rule, but we have to understand that, and you have to protect the football when you're doing that."
Mosley did not return to the game after sustaining the injury and said he will undergo an MRI on Monday. He was unsure about his status for next Sunday's game at the New York Giants.
"I'm OK," said Mosley, who finished with six tackles. "… Just try my best to get back as quick as I can and that I don't do anything crazy to make it worse."