Belichick Can Expect Fine After Grabbing Ref
Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick can expect a fine for putting his hands on a replacement referee after the Patriots' 31-30 loss to the Ravens Sunday night, according to … well, lots of respected analysts.
The officials raised their arms to signal that rookie kicker Justin Tucker's field goal was good, but it was close – very close – and Belichick wanted to talk about it and tried get the attention of the first official he saw, line judge Ali Shetula. Belichick reached out to grab Shetula prior to his head coach post-game handshake with John Harbaugh, but the ref got away.
"Oh, boy, that's a few bucks," NBC's Al Michaels said of Belichick's contact with the ref in the video below, which also replays the controversial kick.
Added Cris Collinsworth, "I can't believe Bill Belichick just did that."
The league sent out a memo to all 32 teams last week, cautioning coaches and players to respect the officials or they could face a fine or worse. Mike Pereira, the NFL's former vice president of officiating for five years, says the league may consider that something "worse."
"I'm sure the league will discuss suspension for Belichick's contact with the official, but I think the NFL will settle for a big fine," Pereira said.
Asked if he thinks he will get fined, Belichick simply answered, "No." [
It's unknown exactly what Belichick wanted
to say to the official; after the game he said he wouldn't comment on the exchange. But defensive lineman Vince Wilfork said the refs "have to" review the field goal to ensure that it was indeed good. "They ran off the field, so, it is what it is," he added.
Actually, the refs don't have to review field goals. The NFL rule book states that field goals are not reviewable, says Pereira.
Tuckers' kick crossed over the top upright, so in order to really know if it was good, you would have to draw an imaginary line straight up to extend the upright and see if the entire ball passes inside that line. If it does, the field goal is good.
Did the ball completely make it inside that line?
"I don't know and that is precisely why this play, this field goal, is not reviewable," Periera wrote. "There isn't any technology at this point that can show precisely when the ball is directly over the upright. That is why the NFL's competition committee made this aspect of a field goal not reviewable. The best look is from the official standing directly under the upright, and it is likely to remain that way."
Neither the Ravens nor the Patriots seemed particularly pleased with the officiating. Totaling the penalties from both teams, the game ended with 24 flags for 218 yards.
"The league office will surely not look kindly on Belichick's actions. But if the league office is honest with itself, and with NFL fans, it will acknowledge that this game was not well officiated," wrote ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith. "And if the NFL wants its games to be well officiated, it will end the lockout."
It doesn't look like that will happen for at least one more week.
The NFL and the regular officials met all day Sunday with a federal mediator in New York City, but the talks broke off last night, according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King.
"This is not good," King tweeted. "No further talks scheduled, which tells me we'll almost certainly see replacement officials again in Week 4."
Without Torrey Smith, Ravens Don't Win
I love this picture of linebacker and team leader Ray Lewis embracing receiver Torrey Smith for nearly 45 seconds after a game in which the receiver shined with 127 yards and two touchdowns.
Smith looks absolutely exhausted, both physically and mentally, after finishing the game and learning his 19-year-old brother died earlier in the day. Lewis was there to console him and lift him up.
An emotional Lewis told Sal Paolantonio that as he held Smith in the middle of the field, he told the young man that before any blessing there's a storm. "Sometimes the storm is so great, but God don't make mistakes," Lewis said. "He doesn't. So when we lose somebody, we come together to show more love."
Perhaps it was God, or the support of his teammates, or the love from his family that got Smith through the day. But whatever it was, without Smith's gutsy performance, the Ravens don't beat the Patriots, says CBSSports.com's Clark Judge.
"The Baltimore Ravens don't beat New England without Joe Flacco, and Joe Flacco doesn't beat New England without Torrey Smith," the columnist wrote. "I know how Flacco did it. What I don't know is how Smith did it.
"The New England Patriots are 1-2, and tell me the last time you remember that happening. Moreover, they just blew a nine-point lead in the fourth period, and that occurs with Bill Belichick-coached teams about as often as Christmas in July. But it just did, and it happened because Torrey Smith made it happen."
Dilfer On Flacco's Character
Flacco and the offense were down two scores – nine points – in the fourth quarter. And with the way Tom Brady was surgically picking apart the Ravens defense in the first three quarters, things weren't looking optimistic for Baltimore.
But somehow Flacco and the offense managed to out-produce Brady, 10-3, in the fourth quarter as Flacco went 9-of-11 to lead the unit on two long scoring drives to win the game.
Flacco's poise in the midst of adversity impressed ESPN analyst and former Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer.
"He has ice water in his veins," Dilfer said. "He's had some of the heroic end-of-the-game moments. Tonight being one of them, where he just dominated [and] where he just doesn't flinch. I think there are so many layers to quarterback play and we can talk about what's most important, [but] maybe the most important is self-belief and having that no-flinch mentality so no matter what the stage is, you believe you are the best player on the field. Joe Flacco has that."
Pats' Wilfork: Flacco Is Tough To Bring Down
A little more love for Flacco, who led the offense to a ridiculous 503 total yards of production.
It may not seem like it from his lengthy 6-foot-5, 245-pound frame, but Flacco is tough to bring down.
Don't take it from me, take it from Wilfork, the Patriots' massive Patriots defensive lineman who battled all Sunday night trying to sack Flacco but failed to do so just like the rest of his teammates. Wilfork heaped mounds of praise on the fifth-year quarterback.
"He took over that team," Wilfork said. "Offensively, he just stepped right in and just moved forward.* *And with the no-huddle now, he is looking very, very good. [I'm] not saying he was bad in the past because, like I said, every time facing these guys, he's tough, mentally and physically. He's tough to bring down, he's stands in the pocket, he takes a hit, he gets up. He's a tough football player.
"A lot of times you can say that about a running back or a receiver, but when you speak like that about a quarterback, when you have a quarterback like that, that's special."
Loudest Manure Chant Ever
The Ravens sideline was clearly upset with an illegal contact penalty called on Lardarius Webb in the fourth quarter to negate an interception that would have been the defensive play of the game. It put the ball back in Brady's hands, but the Ravens defense stopped him later in the series anyway.
Harbaugh was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after the call. Like Belichick, Harbaugh made contact with an official, but it was under very different circumstances. Harbs said he was trying to get the official's attention to call a timeout and accidentally bumped into him during the process. He apologized to the ref.
But no wonder the officials had a hard time hearing Harbaugh, who can be seen in this YouTube video practically begging the judge to come to the sideline.
How could they hear over "the loudest manure chant" Al Michaels has ever heard?
"Wow. Massively embarrassing situation for the NFL here," NFL.com's Albert Breer tweeted at the time of the penalty.
Baltimoreans Give Not-So-Warm Welcome To Hines
Perhaps the most despised player in Baltimore returned to the city, working as an analyst for NBC's "Football Night in America."
And apparently Baltimoreans weren't too welcoming.
Ward said on his Facebook page that a flight attendant at the gate asked for confirmation that he was indeed the former Steelers receiver. After Ward confirmed his identity, the attendant said, "I hate you." He got the same greeting from a man on the plane sitting next to him and a woman at the hotel.
After getting so many negative reactions, Ward said he was afraid to order crab cakes – one of his favorite foods – for fear that somebody would poison or spit on them.
"Guess what Ravens fans: I HATE you too but I will miss you guys the most," Hines wrote. "I had a great 14-year run here and besides the Super Bowls, I will always cherish the Ravens-Steelers rivalry. THANKS for the great memories Ravens fan. But I'm part of a new team now, NBC. I'm even picking you guys to win tonight because I know how hard it is to play in the LION's DEN.
"But come on, I really just wanted to taste some of your great crab cakes. Can't we all just get along?"
@TorreySmithWR: I can't believe my little brother is gone...be thankful for your loved ones and tell them you love them...this is the hardest thing ever [Twitter] * @MayorSRB [Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake]: Thinking of Torrey and his family. The strength of Baltimore's prayers will hold you up Torrey. We love you! [Twitter] * @SimplyAJ10 [Orioles' Adam Jones]: Heard there was an awesome "OOOOOOOO" during the anthem [at Ravens game]. We felt it on the team bus [Twitter] * @AlbertBreer: Watching Ravens on D, wonder if they'd have paid for Johnson if they knew what was gonna happen to Suggs. [Twitter] * @AlbertBreer: Totally fine with Belichick and Harbaugh losing their minds. You only get 16 of these. And to have a labor dispute jeopardize winning ... [Twitter] * @mattvensel: Loud, sustained applause here at The Bank as they show on the scoreboard that the Steelers just lost to the Raiders. #Ravens [Twitter] * The Patriots and Ravens combined for 13 penalty first downs, which set an NFL record. The old record was 12 last done by the Ravens and Lions on October 9, 2005. [Elias] * @jamisonhensley: Cary Williams should be wearing a bulls eye instead of No. 29 on his jersey tonight. [Twitter] * Jamison Hensley notes the key plays made by the No. 3 receiver: "The Ravens lost in the AFC championship game because Lee Evans couldn't hold onto the winning touchdown pass. This time, Jacoby Jones, the team's new No. 3 wide receiver, drew a pass interference penalty that put the Ravens on the New England 7-yard line." [ESPN] * Hensley said the Ravens showed a lack of discipline with penalties: "The Ravens' defense committed three major penalties. Haloti Ngata's personal foul led to a field goal. Bernard Pollard's personal foul came in a touchdown drive. And Ed Reed's unnecessary roughness penalty was converted into a field goal. Total damage: 13 points. The Ravens capped the night with an unsportsmanlike conduct on their sideline in the final drive. [ESPN]