Despite playing with numerous backups because of COVID-19, the Ravens had a chance to hold a halftime lead on the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers.
However, the Ravens were livid after they lost that chance because of a questionable non-call by the officials.
Facing second-and-goal at the 1-yard line with 26 seconds to play, Gus Edwards was stopped for no gain. The Ravens were out of timeouts, trailing 12-7.
As the clock ticked away, Steelers linebacker Vince Williams and safety Terrell Edmunds took their sweet time getting off the pile and letting Edwards get up. Williams did not let go of Edwards' leg. Pittsburgh was obviously stalling, hoping the clock would expire before Baltimore could get off another play.
Edwards was stopped at the line of scrimmage with 22 seconds left. The Ravens didn't get the next snap off until there was three seconds remaining, meaning they had time for just one play.
The Steelers could have been called for a delay of game penalty, which would have stopped the clock. Former NFL referee and NBC analyst Terry McAulay said on the television broadcast that a penalty was warranted against the Steelers. But no flag was thrown.
The clock continued to run, and instead of rushing their field goal unit onto the field, or spiking the ball to stop the clock, the Ravens went for the touchdown. Robert Griffin III dropped back and lofted a pass to tight end Luke Willson, who was open in the end zone after the Steelers had sold out to stop the running play they were expecting.
But as the pass floated in the air, Steelers All-Pro safety Minkah Fitzpatrick closed the distance between himself and Willson. As Willson attempted to tuck the ball into his body, Fitzpatrick punched at the ball and dislodged it from Willson's grasp. It was an incomplete pass. The clock had expired.
Instead of coming away with seven points, or six points, or three points, the Ravens' best offensive drive of the first half – an 11-play 74-yard drive was wasted. The Steelers had gotten away with one, and they protected their lead in the second half to prevail, 19-14, and remain undefeated (11-0).
Head Coach John Harbaugh talked about that critical sequence after the game. He indicated that the plan before Edwards' run was to have two plays – a run, followed by a pass. The Ravens figured if neither went for a touchdown, they would still have enough time to kick a field goal.
"We knew we had enough time to run the two plays we wanted to run," Harbaugh said. "I just feel like if you're laying on the ground like that, you're either injured or it's delay of game. That was a pretty clear-cut type of a deal. That's how we felt about it."
Griffin felt the Steelers should have been penalized, and he felt Baltimore's failure to score before halftime was a key turning point.
"Definitely they were laying on top of our guys and not trying to get up," Griffin said. "But, we did get the play off and had an opportunity to score a touchdown there and we just didn't complete that."