In one game, Kamar Aiken matched what he had done in his first three.
In Sunday’s 28-27 loss to the Oakland Raiders, the Ravens wide receiver caught three passes on four targets – both of which matched numbers in his first three games. He gained just nine yards on those three receptions, but that was nearly half of the 19 yards he had entering the game.
Aiken’s disappearance after leading the offense last season in catches (75), yards (944) and touchdown receptions (five) had been a much-scrutinized topic, but he appeared to be more involved in the offense on Sunday.
“It was definitely a good point for me,” he said. “Just being able to get settled in and get some balls my way. We’ve still got a lot of work to do, figuring out guys’ spots, what routes guys like to run, and getting familiarity with [quarterback] Joe [Flacco] on who does what and who does what well.”
However, Aiken’s showing included several gaffes. On the offense’s first series of the game, he caught a pass for 20 yards over the middle that would have converted a third down-and-18 from the team’s 28-yard line. But the play was negated when he was flagged for pass interference after bowling over his defender.
In the same quarter, he tried to tackle Jalen Richard on a punt return, but missed. Richard took the return 47 yards to the Ravens’ 6-yard line, and Oakland scored on the ensuing play for a 7-0 advantage. In the third quarter, Aiken was penalized for fair catch interference.
Finally, Aiken was Flacco’s target on what would be the Ravens’ final play of the day, but free safety Reggie Nelson broke up the pass on fourth-and-10 from the 50.
“The hit just jarred it out,” Aiken said of the play.
Aiken disputed both of the penalties assessed to him. Discussing the pass interference call, he said, “I hit him, but he was grabbing me. They’re not giving us those calls – the illegal contact penalties. With my size, I get more DBs trying to grab me. The only way I can stop that is putting my hand up to stop him.”
And the fair catch interference penalty? “They are going to fine me if I say what I want to say,” he said.