The Ravens tight end failed to pull in a pass in the end zone on third-and-3 from the 4-yard line early in the fourth quarter. Ultimately, the team settled for a 23-yard field goal by kicker Justin Tucker, but it wasn’t enough in Sunday’s 31-27 loss here at Heinz Field.
Waller appeared to catch the ball and have both feet inbounds while running to the sideline, but rookie strong safety Sean Davis (Maryland) jostled Waller enough to dislodge the ball as Waller fell to the turf.
“I was catching it and focusing on getting my feet down,” Waller said in the locker room after the game. “I was pulling the ball in, and he came up under my arm and knocked it out.”
The play reminded some of the Ravens’ 23-20 loss at the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game on Jan. 22, 2012, when Evans appeared to make a 14-yard grab in the right corner of the end zone, but was stripped by cornerback Sterling Moore with 22 seconds left in regulation to end the comeback.
It wasn't as deflating as the Evans play because more than 14 minutes remained on the clock Sunday, and the Ravens still had a lead. But Waller acknowledged that making the catch and giving the team a potential 24-10 advantage instead of a 20-10 edge would have been critical.
“That’s a huge play,” he said. “The point swing alone on that one play was huge for us and could have propelled us into who-knows-what. So yeah, that’s a huge turn of events.”
Asked if offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg or tight ends coach Richard Angulo gave him any advice after the play, Waller replied, “I know the ball has to be caught. So there’s not really that much that needs to be said. They’re just trying to keep me into the game and not psych myself out.”