One of the pleasant surprises of the second half of the season for the Baltimore Ravens has been the emergence of second-year wide receiver Chris Moore.
Stepping up in place of Breshad Perriman, a regular healthy scratch, Moore has three receptions in each of the last three games, including a key 30-yard touchdown in Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Already a prime special teams option, Moore is beginning to prove his worth as a legitimate option on offense.
Given the ongoing struggles at wide receiver for Baltimore, between Perriman’s downfall, Jeremy Maclin’s struggles and a severe lack of depth, having nine catches and over 100 yards from Moore during this last three-game stretch has been a welcomed addition to the offense.
Plus, not only has Moore been playing well overall, but from the looks of it, quarterback Joe Flacco has an innate trust in Moore, throwing to the speedy receiver before he even breaks out of his routes. Flacco has been known to not always be on the same page with all of his receivers, but so far all systems are a go in terms of his relationship with Moore.
Let’s take a look at some of Moore’s key receptions in recent weeks, and how his crisp route-running and timing with Flacco has led to success.
Against the Detroit Lions, Moore had a one-on-one opportunity on the outside.
This is a simple comeback route, and Flacco locks down on Moore early in the play as he sees the isolated opportunity toward the sideline.
Moore’s clean route running allows him to stop on a dime and turn back toward Flacco who already releases the ball before Moore fully turns back toward his quarterback.
This leads to an easy pitch-and-catch for the duo as Moore gains enough separation in a short period of time to haul in the throw.
Short, quick-hitting, rhythmic passes have never been Flacco’s forte, but with Moore that seems to be the case. On Sunday in Pittsburgh, a similar play was on display.
Moore again has a one-on-one opportunity downfield, this time running a bit of a deeper route toward the first-down marker.
Flacco again locks in on Moore before his receiver has fully broken out of his route, trusting his player to make a play downfield.
Flacco releases the ball as Moore cuts back toward the quarterback and sideline, sending the defensive back away from the play.
Moore is able to work back toward the ball in enough time to secure the catch and regain his balance past the first-down sticks.
Given the fact that Moore has such a limited sample size on offense, it’s refreshing to see him develop a rapport with his quarterback. It provides hope for better things ahead.
That rapport was on display later in the game when Moore made the biggest play of his career. Working down the seam, Moore uses his speed as there is open field with the safety on the other side of the play.
Flacco notices the opportunity downfield and gears up to throw before Moore has even made his way past the defender, trusting in Moore’s speed to allow him to gain separation.
The safety does not have nearly enough time to make his way to the other side of the field as Moore sprints past the defender down the middle and finds a pocket in the back of the end zone. He adjusts to a slightly underthrown ball and makes a play as the defenders close in just a second too late.
Plays like these are why the Ravens drafted Moore. Coming out of Cincinnati as a prospect, Moore’s vertical speed was his biggest asset. But to see him develop this season on short and intermediate routes is a promising sign. Combine that with his seemingly spot-on timing with Flacco and the pieces are coming together for a larger role down the stretch for Moore, as well as a near-guaranteed role on the team in 2018.
It is too soon to tell just how good Moore can be given the small sample size, but he is shaping up to at least be worthy of the fourth-round draft selection Baltimore used on him in 2016.