Justin Tucker Livid About Obvious Missed Call On MNF
Kickers are people too.
And until everyone, including officials, recognize them as such, they need to have each other's back. That's what Justin Tucker did when he saw a terrible call involving Buffalo Bills kicker Dan Carpenter on Monday Night Football.
At the end of the first half, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman jumped offsides on a field-goal attempt and launched into Carpenter's thigh/knee area. Carpenter fell to the ground, clutching his knee in pain.
The officials penalized Sherman for jumping before the snap, but there was no personal foul penalty. On top of that, the referees punished the Bills when they announced that Carpenter had to leave the field because he was attended to by trainers.
That infuriated Tucker, who let his thoughts be known on Twitter.
The bizarre sequence didn't stop there.
The Bills were forced to spike the ball on the next play in order to get Carpenter back on the field. The team was* *then called for a delay of game penalty (despite a referee standing over the ball), which wiped out the successfully converted field goal. That pushed the ball back 5 yards, and Carpenter then missed the 54-yard attempt.
It makes sense for Tucker to be upset about a game he wasn't playing in because he has a stake in how kickers across the league are protected.
Tucker may be biased as a kicker, but that doesn't make him wrong. NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino admitted the refs were mistaken.
Ravens Open As Heavy 10-Point Favorites, But Are Wary Of Browns
Maybe Vegas has forgotten that a majority of Ravens' games dating back to last season have been decided by one score.
Forgetting all that, the 4-4 Ravens opened as heavy 10-point favorites over the winless Cleveland Browns. Equally interesting is the 4-4 Pittsburgh Steelers are three-point favorites over the 7-1 Dallas Cowboys. That Steelers-Cowboys game is at Heinz Field.
Let's hope those opening lines are only half correct.
Going into the Ravens locker room, you definitely don't get the feeling the Ravens think they have Thursday night's game in the bag. Actually, quite the opposite is true.
Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs made the Ravens' feelings explicit: "What does [beating the Steelers] mean if we drop it Thursday? It means [poop]."
Baltimore is 7-1 at home against the Browns under Head Coach John Harbaugh, but remember when that one loss came? It was just last season. That heartbreaker is fresh in the team's memory, along with the Week 2 matchup when the Ravens fell behind 20-0 before battling back to win, 25-20.
As such, the Ravens are very wary of the Browns.
"That they haven't won yet does add to the challenge for us," Harbaugh said. "They're going to be coming in here very determined to win a football game. We have to be more determined to make sure that we win a football game. We have our own issues."
Browns Sticking With Rookie Cody Kessler As Starting QB
Baltimore will face a different quarterback than the one they saw in Week 2.
Despite an 0-6 record as a starter, third-round rookie Cody Kessler will be under center Thursday instead of Josh McCown, Browns Head Coach Hue Jackson announced Monday.
"We're not going to play musical chairs," Jackson said.
Part of the reason Jackson is sticking with Kessler is because he wants to see if he can become the quarterback of the future. The Browns have two first-round picks and two second-rounders in the 2017 NFL Draft.
"I need to know,'' Jackson said Friday. "The more I'm around guys, the more I see them in different situations and play under duress and stress and pressure, the more I'll know about them. This is an opportunity for Cody to demonstrate that, but more so than that, it's the opportunity to go out with his teammates and help them get a win.''
Jernigan Shows He's A Quick Learner And Has Sense Of Humor
When defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan reeled in the first interception of his career in Sunday's win against the Steelers, he quickly fell to the ground, and it didn't go unnoticed.
Jernigan was stripped after he recovered a fumble deep in Ravens' territory during their Week 7 loss to the New York Jets. Harbaugh made it clear afterwards that he wanted Jernigan to down the ball in that situation.
"I was simply thinking about catching the ball and then falling," Jernigan said of the interception. "I understand the situation. I am a fast learner. Growing up in my household, when my mom told you to do something, whether you liked it or you didn't like it, if you didn't do it, there was going to be problems. I know to respect my elders and if Coach wants me to fall on the ball, I'll fall on it. Period."
"It was good seeing him learn from a mistake and to be able to laugh, quipping how he's a fast learner," wrote WNST's Luke Jones.
Smith And Young Make Best Cornerback Duo In Some Time
Cornerback Tavon Young received Sunday's game ball for his part in limiting one of the NFL's top receivers, Antonio Brown, until late in the fourth quarter when Brown notched a touchdown as the defense played conservatively to preserve a lead.
Young has suddenly become the Ravens' No. 2 cornerback after the fourth-round pick was expected to be No. 4 on the depth chart behind veterans Shareece Wright and Jerraud Powers. Injuries have given Young opportunities, and he's proven he deserves to hold onto the starting job.
"Jimmy Smith and rookie Tavon Young could be the best cornerback duo the Ravens have had in a while," wrote Jones. "Smith is finally playing like he did before his foot injury two years ago, and the 5-foot-9 Young is making a strong case to be more than just a slot corner."
Powers Looked Like A Kid Tackling A Man
Here's another Raven with a sense of humor.
Powers (5-foot-10, 193 pounds) notched a sack against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (6-5, 240), but it wasn't easy. Big Ben ducked as Powers approached, and he flipped right over the quarterback's back. Luckily, Powers grabbed onto Roethlisberger's feet and was able to bring him down.
"It was like somebody's kid trying to tackle him," Powers said. "But Big Ben, that's been him his whole career. He's taken hits from [Terrell] Suggs, and he's taken hits from the best and spun off. A 185-pound corner, that's not going to be any different. I guess I went a little bit too high on him, but he was able to kind of throw me off, and luckily, I was alert enough to be able to grab his feet after I fell. But it was a big play in the game, and I was just happy I was able to make the play."