No Flag For Dangerous Hit On Kamar Aiken. Will It Draw Fine?
Lost among two ejections, five penalties, a scuffle and John Harbaugh's attempt to break it up, is the moment that set it all off.
It was Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson's unnecessary and dangerous hit on Ravens wide receiver Kamar Aiken. Aiken was already falling to the ground when Robinson, at the last second, lifted him up and performed a WWE-style piledrive tackle on the receiver, face first.
It's actually quite amazing Aiken got up without any injury to his head, neck or back.
"I'm all for big, clean hits. It's a part of the game, and always should be. But this is unacceptable," wrote Baltimore Beatdown's Nathan Beaucage. "Robinson's completely unnecessary tackle not only put himself at risk for a penalty, but also put Aiken's career, even his life on the line. Neck and head injuries are no joke."
Yet it has largely flown under the radar in the media, second to Steve Smith Sr.'s visit to his suite (more on that below).
Robinson even flew under the radar when referees were handing out penalties. Nobody questioned the litany of fouls given to two Ravens and three Redskins for unnecessary roughness. Nobody really questioned the ejections either, especially given the NFL's recent push to curb fighting.
But where was the flag for Robinson? Maybe the refs missed it (I don't know how). Or maybe they didn't think it fit the criteria for an illegal hit. If the latter is the case, it absolutely should be.
"By far the worst part of this whole thing is the fact that Robinson got off scot-free," Beaucage wrote. "That's right, nothing. No penalty called, absolutely nothing."
The league usually hands out fines and other punishments each Friday. Nobody will be surprised if Smith will get some sort of fine, along with the others that participated in the skirmish. Will the league add Robinson to the list?
"I hope that in the coming days, Robinson is fined heavily and suspended," wrote Beaucage. "This kind of thing has no place in the league. If the league is suspending players for deflating footballs and doing drugs, then putting another player's life in danger on purpose should certainly result in a suspension.
"Perhaps I'm overreacting a little. I mean, Kamar Aiken is one of my favorite players on my favorite team, but with the league supposedly focusing on making the sport safer for players, this malicious act deserves some punishment."
Steve Smith's Son Gets Night Of Fame
Peyton Smith had no idea his picture and tweet would get as much attention as it did.
You've seen it by now. Peyton posted a picture of himself and baby brother enjoying the Ravens game with his dad, Steve, from a suite at M&T Bank Stadium after the 15-year veteran receiver was ejected.
Peyton couldn't believe the reaction. He said it was "crazy" and took him by surprise.
"I didn't even think my tweet was that funny," Peyton wrote on his Twitter timeline.
Oh, it was funny Peyton. Epic, really.
The post rightfully went viral. Peyton said he was the top trend on Twitter, made it on SportsCenter and gained 2,000 new followers in one night. Name an NFL media outlet, and it had a headline about Peyton's tweet.
As for his dad, only he could be ejected from a game and get so much positive feedback for it. Even when he's not playing, Steve still wins.
"Steve Smith the best," tweeted NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.
"Nobody does an ejection better than Steve Smith," added CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora.
"Here's hoping this is the beginning of an epic final season for the Ravens' outspoken wide receiver," wrote ESPN.com.
"Parenting 101 for #NFL players: Get ejected early so you can spend more time with the kids," tweeted @NOTSportsCenter.
Go ahead, Steve. Take a bow.
You too, Peyton.
Jay Gruden's Take On Surprise Sideline Visitor
Head Coach John Harbaugh said he ran over to the Redskins' sideline to help stop his players from engaging in a mini-brawl.
A reporter asked Harbaugh what "set him off" when he turned toward the opponent's bench and Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden. Harbaugh didn't recall saying anything to the opponent, but noted that somebody had words for him.
A Washington reporter asked Gruden about his perspective on Harbaugh being on the Redskins sideline "yelling." Gruden said he didn't have a problem with Harbaugh; he was more taken aback by the referees.
"I don't even know. I was two feet on the field and he was all the way on our sideline and the referee told me to get back," Gruden said, per CSNmidatlantic.com. "I was a little perturbed at that.
"As far as what he said to me and all that, it was just a heated deal. We just wanted the situation to calm itself down. Of course, it didn't. We tried."
Timmy Jernigan Escapes Serious Injury
The Ravens received good news on defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, who left Saturday's game with a knee injury.
"Early indications are that Jernigan dodged a significant knee issue, but he's still expected to miss some practice time and his status for the team's Sept. 13 regular-season opener against the Denver Broncos is in question," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
Jernigan wasn't expected to play in the Ravens preseason finale in Atlanta Thursday night anyway. Most of the Ravens starters will sit on the bench to get ready for the regular-season opener. The news on Jernigan is especially big because he will be counted upon heavily to fill in for Haloti Ngata.
"In other injury news, cornerback Chris Greenwood, who was hurt during Saturday's fourth quarter, has a torn hamstring and could be headed to injured reserve," wrote Zrebiec.
"The Ravens return to practice Monday and they are optimistic that they'll have wide receiver Michael Campanaro (soft-tissue injury) and cornerback Lardarius Webb (hamstring) back on the field early this week. Both participated in individual pre-game workouts Saturday and moved around well."
Have To Be Worried About Ravens Depth
The final score of Saturday's contest, 31-13, didn't tell the whole story of the night.
The starting offensive and defensive units looked solid in their limited action. It was obvious they wanted to get a little momentum going in their final dress rehearsal.
"On the other hand, the Ravens have to be worried about depth. Injuries are mounting, and the second- and third-string defenses have been shredded throughout the preseason," wrote The Sun's Childs Walker.
Added Jon Meoli: "It's getting difficult to write this off as the preseason, as easy as it would be to do that. The starting units on offense have been fine, but there's not a lot on this team outside of its stars that anyone can feel good about after these last two games. The defense can't get off the field without the starters on the field, but they likely won't have to in the season, so it's hard to tell how big of a concern that is. The offense lacks playmakers outside of running back Justin Forsett and wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. And the dreaded 'injury bug' seems to be being passed from position group to position group, with the offensive line passing it to the defensive line on Saturday."
Gillmore on being ready to be the starting TE: " "I felt ready from the beginning, from the moment I started training. It's not new to me." — Brian Bower (@sportguyRSR) August 30, 2015