Don't tell the Ravens and Redskins that preseason football doesn't matter.
A massive scuffle broke out during the first quarter of Saturday night's "Battle of the Beltways," resulting in Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and Redskins cornerback Chris Culliver being ejected and Head Coach John Harbaugh running across the field in an effort to break up the mini-brawl.
The brouhaha started when Redskins middle linebacker Keenan Robinson picked up Ravens wide receiver Kamar Aiken after a reception and body slammed him on his head. After the game, Aiken called it a dirty hit.
That sparked a scrum between Smith and Culliver, who grabbed each other by the jerseys and started going at each other. It did not appear as though any punches were thrown.
The fight spilled towards the Redskins bench area, causing Harbaugh to take off running from his* *sideline.
"It's a preseason game. We have 90 guys on both benches. It wasn't getting calmed down very quickly," Harbaugh said.
"We get the [NFL] memos [about fighting] and everything, so I figured, 'Let me go out there and kind of just get our guys back out of the way and it would be fine.' That's kind of the way it worked out, so it seemed fine."
Eventually, Ravens guard John Urschel grabbed Smith and separated him from the fray. Harbaugh then talked to the referees before turning back towards the Redskins bench and Head Coach Jay Gruden. A reporter asked Harbaugh if something was said by the Redskins sideline that "set [him] off."
"Did I go off? I don't remember going off," Harbaugh said. "You mean, to come out on the field? No, I didn't say anything that I remember to anybody. Something was said to me, but that doesn't bother me, what gets said to me out there."
Head Referee Terry McAulay read a laundry list of personal foul penalties, mostly going against the Redskins defense, before announcing the ejection of Smith and Culliver. Redskins cornerbacks Culliver, David Amerson and DeAngelo Hall, and Smith and Aiken were all called for unnecessary roughness.
Having already caught four passes for 95 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown, Smith took a bow when he heard* *he was ejected, turning Ravens' fans jeers and disbelief that he was being thrown out into cheers.
Harbaugh was asked if he was surprised by the ejections.
"I really didn't see what happened," Harbaugh said. "There were no punches thrown from what I was told. I'm pleased about that. To me, let's work back to the line. You move back to the huddle, you play the next play, you do your talking with the next play, do it with your pads."
Heading into his final season, Smith has*had *an extra level of fire during preseason practices and games. He exchanged verbal jabs with the Philadelphia Eagles throughout two tough days of practices. He was spinning the ball on the Redskins as he torched them in the first quarter.
After being ejected, Smith got an early taste of retirement. He watched the rest of the game from an M&T Bank Stadium suite with his family.