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Ravens WR Zay Flowers on fumbling would-be TD in loss to Chiefs: 'I'll learn from my mistakes'

The Baltimore Ravens were held to 10 points in Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, but a game-altering turnover near the goal line could've prevented Baltimore from matching its season-low point total in the AFC Championship Game -- and perhaps changed the outcome.

Zay Flowers did his best to end Baltimore's scoring drought, reaching for the end zone at the end of a catch-and-run early in the fourth quarter, but just as the the nose of the ball was about to cross the plane, Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed popped the ball out of his grasp.

The Ravens rookie wideout initially thought he had crossed the plane, but a replay review confirmed the fumble, which was recovered by Kansas City in Baltimore's end zone. 

"Yeah, I thought I did, honestly," Flowers told reporters after the game. "But I'll learn from my mistakes."

The tremendous play by Sneed not only took precious points away from the Ravens, but also marred an otherwise great performance by Flowers, who led the Ravens with five receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown. 

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told reporters after the game that Flowers did exactly what he's been told to do in that scenario. 

"We coach two hands when you reach for the end zone," Harbaugh said. "He had two hands on the ball."

Flowers was visibly frustrated on the sidelines after the fumble, throwing his helmet and appearing to suffer a cut on his finger in the process. The would-be TD had seemingly made up for a taunting penalty Flowers was flagged for after a 54-yard grab of his four plays earlier on that same drive. The Ravens ended up getting back in the red zone after his personal foul, but Flowers was an inch or two away from going from zero to hero. 

The fumble was one of takeaways by a Chiefs defense that harassed Lamar Jackson and Co. The Ravens quarterback accounted for the other two mishaps, the first coming on a strip-sack early in the second quarter and the other on a desperation throw into triple coverage on the Ravens' ensuing possession following Flowers' turnover.

Jackson saw the Ravens' turnovers as the difference.

"They played the game basically perfect and they put points on the board," Jackson said. "I felt like if we wouldn't have turned the ball over we definitely would have had a shot, we definitely would have came out with the win. But he did a great job not turning the ball over and putting points on the board."

Baltimore appeared to be game for an offensive shootout against the defending Super Bowl champions by answering Kansas City's opening-drive touchdown with a six-play, 75-yard possession that was punctuated by a 30-yard TD catch by Flowers.

The Chiefs' defense clipped the Ravens offense from then on out, however, forcing seven consecutive drives that went fruitless. Despite its defense doing a good job to keep it in the game, Baltimore's struggles to sustain drives developed into a huge disparity in time of possession (K.C. 37:30; Baltimore 22:30).

Jackson credited Kansas City for a game plan that featured blitzes on 43.5% of his dropbacks, according to Next Gen Stats. It was the fourth-highest blitz rate on Jackson this season.

"That's different, we wasn't expecting that," said Jackson, who was sacked four times. "But sometimes you know we have intermediate routes, and they're jumping, you can't just throw the ball and make them try to tip the passes. I'm trying to make something happen, but they did a great job."

The Ravens' inability to put points on the board was a bit surprising for an offense that scored 28.4 points per game in the regular season, which finished fourth in the league in 2023. Baltimore's top-ranked rushing attack (156.5 YPG) was also held to 81 yards on Sunday against the Chiefs.

"I'm very proud of my team," Jackson said. "New system, offensive coordinator, different things we seen, motion and stuff like that, adversity at the beginning of the season, you know we wasn't playing well, people don't know what the Ravens offense or defense going to look like, and we made it all the way to this point.

"We made it here, but we've just got to finish next time, but I'm very proud of my team in all phases."

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