Baltimore Ravens rookie receiver Zay Flowers came out of Boston College with the 23rd overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft, and for the most part, he lived up to that investment in his first professional season. Flowers caught 86 passes on 116 targets in the 2023 season for 1,014 yards and six touchdowns, becoming a serious threat for Lamar Jackson at all levels of the field.
Unfortunately, in Baltimore’s 17-10 AFC Championship loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday, Flowers became a serious threat to his team at times. Not that he played badly — he caught five passes on seven targets for 115 yards and a touchdown — but things started to unravel exponentially in the game for Flowers, and for the Ravens.
With 49 seconds left in the third quarter, Flowers smoked Kansas City’s usually outstanding defense for this 54-yard catch.
That would have put the Ravens in prime position to get closer than the 17-7 deficit they had, but Flowers’ youthful exuberance got the best of him, and he was flagged for a rather obvious taunting penalty.
That took the ball from the Kansas City 10-yard line to the Kansas City 25-yard line. Now, the Ravens were fighting for a field goal as much as a touchdown.
And THEN… at the start of the fourth quarter… Flowers had a shot at his second receiving touchdown of the game. Instead, Flowers fumbled the all just short of the end zone, encouraged by Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed.
But wait — there’s more! A frustrated Flowers then went to the Ravens’ bench, hit a bench with his hand in frustration, and injured that hand.
Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse for Flowers, he got a FedEx from the league regarding that taunting penalty. Flowers was fined $10,927 by the NFL for the incident.
“Everybody texted me,” Flowers said post-game of the support he received. “Everybody texted me that I know. You know how it is. It’s just a moment. It’s going to make or break you, and I don’t plan on letting it break me.”
Nor should he. We all have those moments we regret, and based on the tape, Flowers has everything required to be one of the NFL’s best receivers over time.
If he can just keep certain things under wraps… and hold on to the ball.