Ravens React To Seahawks' Mind-Boggling Play Call
This is what happens when you get cute and try to outthink the room.
The Seattle Seahawks went from the highest of highs with one of the best catches in Super Bowl history, to the lowest of lows with what is being called the worst play call in NFL history.
Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse made a miracle catch, juggling a tipped ball while still on his back, to bring the Seahawks to the 5-yard line with 66 seconds left to play and one time out trailing 28-24 in Super Bowl XLIX.
Cut to the sideline with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who lost a Super Bowl before courtesy of a New York Giants miracle catch. He looked stunned and wildly depressed (somewhere Terrell Suggs was smiling).
What happened next will never be forgotten.
After Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch took the ball to the 1-yard line with a bruising, physical rush, the Seahawks still had three more tries to pound the rock into the end zone with one of the game's best wrecking balls. Instead of going to Beast Mode, however, Head Coach Pete Carroll instructed his offensive coordinator to throw the ball because he didn't like the goal-line personnel matchup the Patriots sent to the field.
So Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw ball to the middle of a crowded field, and Patriots undrafted rookie Malcolm Butler made an incredible move on the ball –* *he later said he saw the Seahawks run that play during film study – and he picked off the pass.
What did Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh, who was a guest Super Bowl analyst on NBC, think about the Seahawks' decision to pass instead of feeding Beast Mode?
"That's a tough decision, you've got to think about running the ball there without doubt," Harbaugh said during the postgame show. "They have a timeout left; they have a chance to win the ball game."
That's putting it nicely.
Terrell Suggs was little more explicit with where he places blame. Here's his reaction along with some of his teammates, former Ravens, media … and funnyman Will Ferrell.
Harbaugh Denies Role In DeflateGate
Harbaugh has seen the unconfirmed reports that he had some type of role in DeflateGate.
Unconfirmed reports and rumors circulated last week, first started by Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, that Harbaugh tipped off his old pal Chuck Pagano and the Indianapolis Colts about New England's underinflated ball before the AFC championship game.
The theory, which was advanced by the Boston Globe, was that Harbaugh was ticked off about Brady telling him and the Ravens to "study the rule book" in reference to ineligible and eligible receivers, so Harbaugh decided to give Pagano a ring to put the idea of complaining in his head.
But Harbaugh adamantly denied such accusations on NBC's pregame Super Bowl show.
"I heard all that, I couldn't believe it when I heard it," Harbaugh told Bob Costas in the video below. "It's ridiculous, it never happened, I never made any call, nobody in our organization made any call. As a matter of fact, just to make sure I had all the facts, I called up Chuck Pagano and asked him, 'Did anybody else in our organization tip you off about deflated footballs?' and he said, 'No way.'"
Harbaugh told Costas that improper footballs were never a factor in his mind during his team's contest against the Patriots in the AFC divisional round.
"It never came up, it never crossed my mind, it wasn't even an issue in the [Colts-Patriots] game," Harbaugh said. "I didn't even think about it until I read about it later."
Harbaugh As TV Analyst Was 'Excellent'
How did viewers take to Harbaugh transitioning from head coach to TV analyst? Count Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch a fan.
"The addition of Ravens coach John Harbaugh was excellent," Deitsch wrote. "He was polished, animated and exactly what you wanted in a one-off Super Bowl guest. … Coaches and players often take such assignments as a way to pitch themselves as broadcasting candidates down the road. Harbaugh passed that test with flying colors."
Executive producer of NBC Sports and NBCSN Sam Flood said Harbaugh could have a seat at the *Football Night In America *desk if "this coaching thing doesn't work out."
But this coaching thing IS working out.
He's led the Ravens to the postseason in six of the seven years he's been in Baltimore, and brought home the Lombardi Trophy from the 2012 season. He got his team back into the playoffs after missing it for the first time in 2013, and they had the Super Bowl champions down by 14 points twice in the divisional playoff game.
That's partly why Harbaugh predicted the Patriots to win during the pregame show.
"Anyone who beats the Ravens can win the Super Bowl," he said.
Ravens Still On Belichick's Mind
The memory of the Ravens nearly upsetting his team still lingers for the now four-time Super Bowl Champion Bill Belichick.
In just the second question into his Lombardi Trophy presentation interview, Belichick brought up the rivalry.
He was asked how concerned he was when the Patriots entered the Super Bowl's fourth quarter down by 10 points.
"Maybe not as concerned as we were when we were down by 14 against Baltimore," Belichick said.
Not Winning DPOY Shouldn't Diminish Mosley's Rookie Year
Linebacker C.J. Mosley was so close to winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. He lost by just seven votes in this year's Associated Press ballot to St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
Even though he didn't take home the honor, Mosley was still just one of two rookies to reach the Pro Bowl and the first in Ravens history. He was the only person to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month twice. He was the only player in the NFL to record at least 125 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions.
So getting outvoted for the DPOY won't diminish his accomplishments in 2014.
"This shouldn't take away from one of the best all-around seasons by an NFL rookie," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "In looking how the season unfolded, Mosley didn't lose the award. Donald won it with an impressive finish. He recorded a sack in eight of the Rams' last 11 games. His nine sacks led all rookies and were the most by a rookie in three years. That type of pass rush ability is impressive for an interior lineman. That's why Donald became just the second defensive tackle to win this award in the last 20 years (Ndamukong Suh was the other).
"This was a tough call for voters."
- In honor of Steelers running back Jerome Bettis' Hall of Fame selection, watch this hit by Ray Lewis. [The Baltimore Sun]
- Fake Terrell Suggs makes an appearance in comedian Frank Caliendo's profile of Belichick. [ESPN]
- Bears* *tight end Martellus Bennett thinks Marc Trestman is a better offensive coordinator than head coach. "Trestman, I think, first off, the issue that he had, probably, was managing us all, all the different personalities," Bennett said. "There's a lot of big personalities. And I think, for a first-time head coach in the NFL, dealing with all the personalities that you have, I think that's hard when you got guys like me, you know, [Brandon] Marshall … Lance Briggs on defense, (Charles) Tillman … Calling plays, he was excellent. I think he's going to be an excellent coordinator for the Ravens. Strategically, he was great. But on the field, guys just weren't executing." [NFL Network]
Glad this is over....Back to work...last year sucked...Planning on playing February 7, 2016 in San Francisco...MOTIVATION!! — Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) February 2, 2015