Ravens Racking Up Too Many Penalties


The Ravens offense had one final chance to win Sunday's game against the Bengals.

With just more than two minutes remaining, Baltimore got possession 80 yards from a game-winning touchdown.

It was one final penalty that derailed that last-ditch effort. Left guard Kelechi Osemele grabbed linebacker Vincent Ray's facemask as Ray came blitzing up the middle, negating a first-down reception by Steve Smith Sr. on fourth down.

That was the exclamation point on a dreadful day when it came to the yellow flags. Baltimore had 13 penalties for 116 yards, the third flags most they've had under Head Coach John Harbaugh (since 2008). 

The penalties were the first thing Harbaugh brought up during his postgame comments, and he followed up on it again Monday.

"Every one of them is a different type of scenario, but the bottom line is that there's too many of them and they've got to be cleaned up," Harbaugh said.

The Ravens' flags were mostly called on the offensive line and secondary, and Harbaugh said "they were all pretty good calls."

"It's mostly technique," Harbaugh said. "Some of it is trying to do too much."

The secondary had three penalties alone on Cincinnati's opening touchdown drive. Cornerback Rashaan Melvin later had a 14-yard defensive pass interference called against him.

Osemele had three penalties on the day. In addition to the 15-yard face mask call, he got flagged once for holding and once for unnecessary roughness during a scuffle with defensive end Carlos Dunlap. That penalty was offset as both players were flagged.

Osemele said his thumb got caught on Ray's facemask on the fateful penalty that doomed the final drive. Osemele reached his arm out and wasn't watching where it landed as he blocked another Bengals defender.

"It's just one of those freak deals; it happens," Osemele said of the facemask. "Things happen in life."

Center Jeremy Zuttah had two holding penalties and one illegal blindside block. Two of those penalties came on the same drive.

The problem isn't new this season. The Ravens had 10 penalties for 109 yards in Oakland. That could have just been a flag-happy officiating crew, however. The Raiders had 16 penalties for 106 yards. Baltimore only had three penalties for 15 yards against the Broncos. "We have to play smarter, no doubt," running back Justin Forsett said. "We have to make smarter decisions on the field and be physical and be tough. But, we have to play within the rules and that's something we have to clean up."

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