It'd be reductive and simplistic to say that the Ravens (3-2) loss to the Steelers (3-2) on Sunday came down to a single play. That is because it actually came down to an infinite number of plays in which Baltimore could have finished Pittsburgh but for some reason didn't.
One of those plays, and perhaps the most damaging considering the moment of the game and the situation, happened right on the verge of halftime. Watch for yourself, courtesy of Jonas Shaffer's clip.
The Ravens were leading 10-3 even with a few passes already in the drop column by then, including a ridiculous one by Rashod Bateman. No worries!
It was 4th-and-2 at Pittsburgh's 23-yard line. The clock was already past the one-minute mark and the Ravens had to decide between going for it (reasonable, only two yards to go) or kicking a field goal (more than reasonable as it'd put them six points ahead and they have the GOAT kicker in Justin Tucker).
Rather than call Tucker to the field along the field-goal unit, Baltimore decided to run a play.
Ravens center Tyler Linderbaum snapped the ball to Lamar Jackson, who simply wasn't totally expecting such a sudden bullet thrown his way and had to improvise a bit by rolling to his right and throwing the ball away in a play that was never going to end well.
Speaking after the game, second-year center Tyler Linderbaum took the blame for that gaffe, which ended the Ravens hopes at taking a larger lead into halftime and instead left it all open for the Steelers' comeback later in the game.
"Really just on me, understanding the situation,” Linderbaum said. "Just understanding the situation and making sure that he gets across the ball before I snap it. Just my fault, not being aware and putting myself in that situation."
According to head coach John Harbaugh, the initial plan was to kick the 40-yard field goal. The coach said there was "just a miscommunication" and that led to the ball getting snapped and the Ravens missing on adding three cheap points to the board.
Linderbaum thought that Steelers linebacker Kwon Alexander had jumped the LOS (and he was right) but the Pittsburgh defender didn't quite cross it in which would have been an infringement of the rules.
The Ravens misjudged that move and passed the ball to Lamar, adding another unforced error to the endless list of mistakes made by the team which ended up with Baltimore dropping (pun intended) the game and losing to the Steelers on the road in Week 5.
Baltimore flies to London, UK, on Monday ahead of their international matchup of the season against the Tennessee Titans (2-3) next Sunday in Week 6 and looking to bounce back from their second loss of the season.