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Late For Work 11/23: Worst Rule Ever Hurts Ravens

Posted Nov 23, 2012

Roethlisberger back for Ravens showdown? DeCosta pops up as GM candidate. Week 12 picks.


Worst Rule Ever Hurts Ravens

The Ravens could be a looking at a golden opportunity to tie things up with the Texans atop the AFC if it weren’t for a crazy challenge rule.

“Congratulations Tuck Rule, we have a new winner for ‘worst rule in the NFL,’” tweeted NFL.com’s Adam Rank.

“Um, I have no words for this one...  other than I know what the Texans should be damn thankful for. Wow,” tweeted CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora.

Rank and La Canfora are referring to the NFL rule that penalizes a team 15 yards and, more importantly, eliminates the ability to review a play if a coach throws a challenge flag on a play that is automatically reviewable.

That’s a steep penalty for what appears to be a minor infraction, and the Detroit Lions (and even the Ravens) certainly paid dearly yesterday. In the Detroit-Houston Thanksgiving game, Texans running back Justin Forsett was tackled and clearly down on what should have been an 8-yard run. But the refs didn’t blow the whistle, and Forsett got back up and ran for an 81-yard touchdown.

Before Forsett even reached the end zone, Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz was reaching into his pocket for the red challenge flag. He threw it, nullifying a chance for review because scoring plays are already automatically reviewed. As can be seen in this video, the play would have easily been overturned as even Forsett later admitted he was down.

"I know now that I was down, but I didn't think I was during the play," Forsett said. "I didn't think my knee hit, and there was no whistle, so I kept going. I wasn't giving the touchdown back."

It proved to be the difference in the game, as the Texans barely survived by three points in overtime to keep the lead in the conference over the Ravens. The victory improved Houston's record to 10-1, making it harder for Baltimore to catch and pass them with five and a half weeks remaining in the season.

"A rule's a rule," said Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiac. "I know one thing: You've got to keep your flag tucked in your pocket."

And while Schwartz took full responsibility for throwing the flag – he knew immediately on the sideline that he messed up –the challenge flag rule has got to go, says ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio.

“[T]he approach was changed in the offseason because too many coaches were throwing the red flag when they shouldn’t have been throwing it, delaying the game,” Florio wrote. “Still, the 15 yards of field position should be enough of a penalty.  Pulling the plug on a system aimed at erasing bad calls because the coach had the audacity to react to the bad call makes no sense.  More importantly, it’s unfair.

“That’s why the rule needs to go.  Here’s hoping the NFL doesn’t wait until the offseason to do it.  Given today’s events, the NFL needs to make the change now.

Roethlisberger Back For Ravens Showdown?

There are signs this week that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger could be back for Steelers-Ravens, says ESPN’s Tim Kavanagh.

Roethlisberger removed the sling that has been protecting his rib and shoulder injuries. He didn’t appear to be in any significant pain like he was last week when he spoke with reporters, noted the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

There is no timeline for Big Ben’s return because of the rare nature of the injury and the fact that no other NFL player in recent history has suffered one like it. Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin expressed optimism that Roethlisberger was healing quickly.

Also, there is no longer worry in Pittsburgh that Big Ben could miss a game for the birth of Little Ben. Roethlisberger and his wife, Ashley, announced on Facebook that Benjamin Jr. was born Wednesday night.

Fun fact brought to you by Jamison Hensley: “This is the second son born to an AFC North quarterback this year. Joe Flacco's son, Stephen Vincent, was born five months ago.  In the tale of the ‘baby’ tape, Benjamin Roethlisberger Jr. weighs 7 pounds, 1 ounce. Stephen Flacco was eight pounds when he was born.”

DeCosta Pops Up Again As GM Candidate

The Carolina Panthers are in search of a new general manager, and Ravens Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta is already rumored to be on the Panthers’ radar, according to ProFootballTalk.com.

They likely won’t get him, however, because the contract DeCosta signed earlier this year reportedly prevents him from leaving Baltimore in exchange for the Ravens paying him GM-type money.

DeCosta’s name came up earlier this year for GM positions with the Colts, Rams and Bears, but he didn’t even take an interview as he is considered the Ravens’ GM-in-waiting. General Manager Ozzie Newsome released this statement when DeCosta decided not to interview for those openings:

"Since this franchise started in 1996, we've established a strong history of retaining our most important executives, players, coaches and personnel experts. Eric, who has had opportunities to interview with other teams recently and over the years, is another one we want to keep and will keep.

"He has chosen to stay with the Ravens, and we're excited that he will. He is a most valuable asset and will continue to help us win championships."

Ravens-Chargers Blacked Out In San Diego

Here’s something for Baltimore to be thankful for – not suffering the threat of blackouts. The Ravens are too good and too popular with their fans.

The same can’t be said in San Diego, where Sunday’s game won’t be televised because more than 9,000 general tickets remained unsold by Thursday’s 1:05 p.m. deadline, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

But don’t worry, the game will be televised in Baltimore. The NFL requires teams to sell out home games 72 hours before kickoff; otherwise the game isn't broadcast within a 75-mile radius of the stadium.

San Diego fans appear to be turned off by the Chargers’ disappointing 4-6 start, while rumors persist that Head Coach Norv Turner’s job is in danger.

Week 12 Picks: Ravens vs. Chargers

There’s no consensus on who gets the win Sunday between the Ravens and Chargers. It seems analysts don’t have much confidence in either team because the Ravens play poorly on the road and the Chargers play poorly … almost all the time this season.

The Baltimore Sun: 4 of 7 pick Chargers
Jeff Zrebiec: “I have no doubt that the Ravens are the far better team but I don't like them in this spot — coming off an emotional and physically draining win, on a short week and flying to the West Coast with a depleted secondary.”

ESPN.com: 6 of 12 pick Ravens

Yahoo! Sports: 2 of 3 pick Ravens

SportingNews.com (Vinnie Iyer): Ravens 20, Chargers 17
“Philip Rivers won’t like the fact the Ravens will have Ed Reed in the secondary because it all but guarantees he’ll throw an interception. This is an important game for counterpart Joe Flacco to break out of a funk.”

FoxSports.com (Peter Schrager): Ravens 27, Chargers 16
“Ed Reed’s suspension appeal was a success on Tuesday, but the $50,000 hit to the wallet still isn’t exactly chump change. The Ravens will have their star safety in the lineup this weekend, but it probably wouldn’t have mattered much if he wasn’t, anyway. Baltimore could trot out a bunch of second- and third-stringers against this anemic Chargers offense and be just fine. In the past five years, the Chargers have opted not to re-sign Michael Turner, LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles and Vincent Jackson. Philip Rivers could use every single one of them now.”

CBSSports.com (Pete Prisco): Chargers 31, Ravens 21
“This is a be-careful game for the Ravens. They don't play well out here and San Diego can get it going through the air, an area of concern for the Ravens. I see Philip Rivers coming up big in a game that the Chargers have to get.”

SI.com (Peter King): Ravens 27, Chargers 23
“With or without Ed Reed, I just don't trust San Diego. [The] Chargers, in the last two months, are 0-6 against all teams not from Kansas City, and they give off the distinct aroma of a team playing out the string and wondering if their coach in 2013 will be a: Chip Kelly; b: Andy Reid; c. Some total longshot like Syracuse coach Doug Marrone.”

ProFootballTalk.com (Mike Florio): Ravens 24, Chargers 20
“The Ravens are getting closer to a fifth-straight postseason, and Norv Turner is getting closer to a third coaching postmortem.”

ProFootballTalk.com (Michael David Smith): Ravens 20, Chargers 16
“I don’t believe the Ravens are as good as their 8-2 record suggests, and they’re bound to come back to the pack in the AFC eventually. But after the Chargers’ loss to the Broncos on Sunday, San Diego isn’t going anywhere. The Chargers will come out flat and the Ravens will win.”

Quick Hits

  • Dennis Pitta and Pernell McPhee are on the mend as they both practiced the last two days with limited participation. Pitta will soon take a baseline neurological test to determine if he's medically cleared for contact after suffering a concussion last week, according to Aaron Wilson. "I've taken a few big hits these last few weeks, but I feel good," Pitta said. “We'll see where we're at, but I feel pretty good." [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Ray Rice is looking to breakout after a quiet week in Pittsburgh. "We've got to reinvent ourselves a week later, but obviously it's always been tough-sledding against them," said Rice, “You can't just run at the Steelers. This week, same kind of deal. Those are big, heavy guys up front. You get those big guys moving, and hopefully you get a crease." [The Baltimore Sun]
  • @ravensinsider: Ravens nose guard Terrence Cody says his favorite Thanksgiving food is sweet potato pie. [Twitter]
  • @ravens: Jacoby Jones is having gumbo for Thanksgiving. Apparently that's how it's done in New Orleans. @TerrenceCody is serving up BBQ pigs feet. [Twitter]
  • @torreysmithwr: I'm thankful for my god, family, friends, life, America, and the opportunity to live out my dream...What are you thankful for?? [Twitter]
  • Matt Birk is happy to be able to stuff his face this Thanksgiving. [CSNBaltimore.com]



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