Ravens, Eagles Accuse Other Of Dirty Play
After an extraordinarily chippy game like Sunday's brawl in South Philly, it's no surprise to see both sides pointing the finger at the other when it comes to who was the instigator.
Cornerback Cary Williams and Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson were going at it all day, and even looked to exchange punches at one point.
Guard Marshal Yanda and Eagles defensive end Cullen Jenkins were flagged for offsetting personal fouls in the first quarter after Vonta Leach's touchdown.
Then Leach himself got into it with Eagles safety Kurt Coleman. Somehow, running back Ray Rice (perhaps the smallest man on the field) was the only player who got singularly penalized during one of the many scrums.
"They take a couple of shots, that's just how they're coached," Leach said, per The Baltimore Sun. "They play dirty. They take shots after the play, a lot of dirty stuff after plays. We weren't going to back down. We weren't going to take that. Anytime someone thinks they're a bully, you got to step up or they'll keep doing it."
After the game, Williams said he has to do a better job of controlling his emotions. He and Jackson were jawing throughout the game.
"He threw the first punch," Williams said. "I got to learn to keep my head. I can't let my emotions get the best of me. I think we both needed to do that. We knew it was a big game; it was a lot at stake. I can't allow my emotions to control me and allow me to make irrational decisions."
The Eagles' Jenkins said it was the Ravens who started it, however.
And he seemed to convince CSN Philadelphia columnist Reuben Frank, who said, "Playing the Baltimore Ravens is 50 percent NFL and 50 percent WWE. They do everything short of secretly bringing a folding chair in the huddle to start whacking the other team with."
Perhaps a bit overdramatic?
"A lot of dirty plays and cheap shots and fights and everything," Jenkins said. "If you challenge us, we're going to challenge you back, and not only are we going to challenge you back, we're going to try to take it out on your quarterback.
"We know the Ravens. The Ravens have been like that for a long time. They try to intimidate you."
Did Officials Get Jacoby Jones Call Right?
Joe Flacco called the penalty "crazy." Jacoby Jones told reporters, "I can't say what I want to say."
With less than five minutes left and the Ravens clinging to a three-point lead, Flacco found Jones in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown pass. Jones leaped over Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and hauled in the catch for a touchdown that would have given the Ravens a two-score lead and likely sealed the victory.
Not so fast.
As Jones was celebrating, an official came running toward the line of scrimmage – he didn't throw a penalty flag – and then signaled to the head referee that there was offensive pass interference on Jones.
Touchdown nullified. The call swayed the outcome of the game as the Eagles went on to win 24-23.
So did the officials get it right?
"On that play with Jacoby Jones, I just saw two guys fighting for the ball," former wide receiver Antonio Freeman of Comcast Sports Net said in the video below. "I saw two guys trying to make a play on the ball. One guy touched the other, the other touched, and it just was a repeated session down the field.
"But I did not see a pass interference call. But what I did question was whether he got that second foot down. … I thought it was just a great offensive and defensive matchup between a wide receiver and cornerback and [there] should have been no call."
Former NFL Head Coach Tony Dungy agreed with the pass interference ruling.
"I think this was the right call because there was a lot of jostling out there," Dungy said on NBC's Football Night in America.
Was Flacco Being A 'Baby?'
During his postgame press conference,Flacco criticized the replacement referees but tempered his comments by saying he "might sound like a baby" in the wake of a loss.
Media pundits aren't calling Flacco a baby this morning. In fact, most agree with him.
"Flacco's criticism of the replacement officials is warranted," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "In fact, I wish other players would follow suit. Flacco is only saying what most fans and reporters are thinking."
Chatter about the ongoing labor dispute between the NFL and referees union has picked up after the Week 2 games, which included a number of questionable calls and scrums after the whistle. In Baltimore's game, there were five personal foul penalties, twice offsetting, for pushing and shoving after the whistle.
"It was obvious that the players had no respect for any man with a whistle," Hensley said. "It was hard for anyone to take the replacement refs seriously when they couldn't keep track of timeouts and had two two-minute warnings in the fourth quarter. The officials took forever to sort out calls, which is why the game lasted 3 hours, 38 minutes."
Flacco Contract Talks Shelved
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that contract negotiations between Flacco and the Ravens have been not just tabled, but shelved.
No, yesterday's game did not play into this. Schefter's report came before the start of the game.
Schefter said Flacco and the Ravens were close to finalizing a long-term extension in the first week of August before talks were put on hold, according to a league source. There reportedly haven't been any contract discussions in the past six weeks.
"Part of Flacco's greatest leverage is his seeming indifference about procuring a long-term deal," Schefter wrote.
Flacco has repeatedly said that he's not focused on getting a new deal, even after Head Coach John Harbaugh joked last week after Flacco's stellar game to "Pay the man!"
"If the two sides were to resume contract discussions now, they would have to start over, according to sources," Schefter said.
Ravens Offensive Play-Calling Questioned
The offense was the talk of the town heading into Sunday's game based on their performance in the opener against Cincinnati.
The up-tempo, no-huddle approach is once again the main talking point after the Week 2 game, but for very different reasons. Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron's play calling is taking the brunt of the criticism following the first loss of the season.
"The Ravens can blame this one on inexcusable play-calling," wrote Baltimore Sun sports editor Ron Fritz.
The Ravens went away from the running game at the start of the second half, and the offense struggled to get into a rhythm. Running back Ray Rice didn't get a carry after halftime until the Ravens' fourth possession.
"Abandoning Ray Rice for most of the third quarter, when Joe Flacco clearly was struggling, on so many third-and-short situations cost them the game," wrote the Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
"The way the offense played raised familiar and well-warranted concerns about the way Ray Rice is utilized and how Cam Cameron calls plays," added the Sun's Ed Lee.
Rice finished the day with 16 carries for 99 yards, but the Ravens didn't use him in short yardage situations. Baltimore had six situations of third-and-2, third-and-1 or fourth-and-1, and they passed every time. They went 0-6 picking up first downs on those plays.
"That can't happen when you have a Pro Bowl Running back and a Pro Bowl fullback," Zrebiec said.
Pats TE Hernandez Injures Ankle
Eagles tight end Brent Celek finished with eight catches for 157 yards Sunday.
Just think of the trouble that could mean for the Ravens as they face the New England Patriots tight ends next Sunday night.
New England may be down a man, however.
Aaron Hernandez, who really acts just as much like a wide receiver as tight end, left yesterday's upset loss to the Arizona Cardinals in the first quarter and did not return. It is believed he has an ankle sprain.
Hernandez was seen in the locker room on crutches and wearing a high walking boot on his right ankle. X-rays were reportedly negative.
It's unknown how long he'll be out, including if he'll miss Sunday's game in Baltimore.
Speaking of Celek, here's the video of him hurdling Ed Reed. Don't see this too often, and Ray Lewis made him pay.
Steelers, Bengals Both Win
The Ravens' run atop the AFC North lasted just one week.
The Steelers beat the Jets at home, 27-10, and the Bengals topped the Browns, 34-27.
Ben Roethlisberger went 24-of-31 for 275 yards and two touchdowns, including one 37-yard strike to Mike Wallace. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez came back down to earth after a huge Week 1 performance, going 10-for-27 for 138 yards as he ran into trouble with Pittsburgh's defense.
Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton rebounded from his rough start against the Ravens to throw three touchdowns versus the Browns. The Browns found some offense behind rookie running back Trent Richardson (109 rushing yards, one touchdown) and quarterback Brandon Weeden (26-for-37 for 322 yards and two touchdowns).
- As more high-profile players speak out [against the replacement refs], the question becomes whether more will do the same — and whether a tipping point will eventually be reached. Until then, look for the league to continue to hunker down, circle the wagon, and wait for the locked-out officials to cry uncle. [Pro Football Talk]
- "As bad as the replacement refs were, the Ravens' offensive game plan was worse." [Ron Fritz, The Baltimore Sun]
- @deemason85: I will say this. Refs never came to the defense of players when we were locked out so players need to just play and allow refs to work out. [Twitter]
- @JasonButtCBS: And Billy Cundiff's 62-yard field goal attempt with 1:18 left falls well short. #Rams 31, #Redskins 28. [Twitter]