The stunning end to the Ravens' 2017 season was jolting to the entire organization, but the timing of it was particularly tough on receiver Chris Moore, whose trajectory was on a rapid upswing just as the season came to an abrupt halt.
Moore, who was a healthy inactive in three of the first five games this past season, steadily climbed the depth chart throughout the second half of the season to become the Ravens' No. 3 wide receiver, surpassing former first-round pick Breshad Perriman. And with Jeremy Maclin (knee) sidelined for the final two games, Moore was the de facto No. 2 receiver, while also continuing to excel as a punt-team gunner and kick returner.
On consecutive plays against the Cincinnati Bengals in the season finale, Moore had an 87-yard kickoff return and a 6-yard touchdown catch.
"It was nice just to get in there and get some reps and start getting a good feel of what I can do in the NFL," said Moore, a second-year player out of the University of Cincinnati.
Then, in the time it took for Andy Dalton to throw a last-minute, 49-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-12, giving the Bengals a shocking 31-27 win, the Ravens' season was finished. At 9-7, they lost out on the final playoff spot.
"It sucks," said Moore as he cleared out his locker Jan. 1. Moore was one of several players the Ravens got in a fourth-round haul in the 2016 draft, along with Tavon Young, Alex Lewis, Willie Henry and Kenneth Dixon.
Moore's final receiving totals in 2017 were modest -- 18 catches, including two on fake punts, for 248 yards and three touchdowns -- and two passes intended for Moore glanced off him and became interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns. Still, he represents one of the few known quantities at wide receiver entering this offseason.
Mike Wallace (52 catches for a team-high 748 yards) and Michael Campanaro (19-173) are both set to become unrestricted free agents, and Maclin (40-440) could be a salary cap casualty. Even Perriman, who is entering the final year of his rookie deal, probably isn't a roster lock after a lost year in which he totaled 10 catches for 77 yards and contributes nothing on special teams.
That leaves Moore and a whole lot of questions.
Moore said he has "no idea" what the Ravens' plans are at wide receiver going forward.
"That's above my pay grade," he said, but after this season, he figures to be a substantial part of it.
"I feel like I was on a good climb," Moore said, "and I can keep going."