The Ravens' longest gain Thursday night did not come from a pass or a rush. That honor went to a punt return by Keenan Reynolds.
The second-year player out of the Naval Academy returned a punt 46 yards. That play set up a 33-yard touchdown connection from quarterback Josh Woodrum to rookie wide receiver Tim White with four seconds left in the third quarter to give the team a 20-3 advantage en route to a 23-3 victory over the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium.
The return was the biggest play of the 2016 sixth-round pick's career. Reynolds caught Tress Way's punt at the Ravens' 21-yard line, wove through the heart of Washington's coverage unit and was prevented from reaching the end only a diving tackle from Way at the Redskins' 33.
"I was just focused on catching the ball. That was the No. 1 thing," Reynolds said, adding that wide receiver Jeremy Maclin teased him about getting tripped by the punter. "A lot of times during practice, back there with [Lardarius Webb], he always says, 'Look it in. You've got to catch it before you can do anything.' So I focused on catching the ball and when I looked down, I saw a guy at the top, and we've been working all camp on sticking and making the first guy miss and then getting vertical. So I just tried to apply when we've been doing on the practice field in a real-game setting, and those guys out there with me, they made it go."
Reynolds figures to be in a spirited competition at wide receiver. With Mike Wallace, Maclin, and Breshad Perriman (right hamstring tightness) held out Thursday night, Michael Campanaro, Chris Moore and rookie Quincy Adeboyejo started, and rookie Tim White entered on the next play. And Chris Matthews and Griff Whalen are in the mix.
Maybe that's why Reynolds was not about to be content with his punt return.
"It's just a play," he said "I've got to come back out and do it the next day, the next week. For me, it's just a play. I've moved on. It was a good play, but I've moved on."
Coach John Harbaugh praised Reynolds’ contribution.
“He made good decisions, and I think the punt returning, he went north, he put his foot into the ground two or three times and made nice cuts — vertical cuts — and went that way,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what you want to see the punt returners do as well as the good decisions. He had a good night.”