Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

10 Oct 2005

Ravens Get Mad, Lions Get Even

This was ugly on several levels. The Ravens racked up 21 penalties (one shy of the record), had two players ejected, committed four turnovers, and some Baltimore fans are wondering (again) if Billick has lost control of his team. But it's also worth noting that Joey Harrington had another subpar performance, Roy Williams left with a leg injury, and before a bevy of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties late in the third quarter, the Ravens were still in the game.

And most importantly, the officiating left a lot to be desired. I would say more, but I don't want to get fined by the league office.

Posted by: P. Ryan Wilson on 10 Oct 2005

13 comments, Last at 12 Oct 2005, 5:25pm by Whatever0


by Betting Man (not verified) :: Mon, 10/10/2005 - 12:01pm

I recall that "Carl" put up a list of projections about wins/losses this weekend, with spreads.

He had Atlanta by 1, unless Vick didn't play, in which case he had New England by 1.

Seemed pretty smart to me, so I checked the rest of the predictions this morning.

He had Indy by 12 on the road, which I thought was pretty steep. They covered.

He was right about Detroit, Green Bay, Buffalo, Cleveland, Jets, Seattle, Carolina and Denver, but just missed the spread on that.

He was wrong about Houston and the Bengals.

He qualified his game between Philadelphia and Dallas by saying it would be wrong if McNabb was injured, and he was, so I'll call that a mulligan.

10-2 and a mulligan. He has San Diego by 3 tonight, so he could go 11-2-1 or 10-3-1.

That's pretty good in my book.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 10/10/2005 - 12:09pm

Carl had Green Bay by 49? Wow!

by smashmouth football (not verified) :: Mon, 10/10/2005 - 12:19pm

This was the worst performance by an officiating crew I have ever seen. Period.
I never trust the zebras when they go into the peep show booth. It seems more often than not they still get it wrong.
On a number of holding calls, the TV replay showed nothing more than typical line play. The touchdown call on the sixth (!) play from the one-yard-line was atrocious.
I suspect the league felt guilty about screwing the Lions the week before, but why should they take it out on the Ravens?
The Lions blocker committed a flagrant illegal cut block against Ed Reed and the officials let it slide. The blocker attempted to drive his helmet directly into Reed's knee, after Reed had blown by him. Usually they just hold Reed when that happens, but that never gets called either.
Having said all this, the Ravens still have no excuse for losing control, which they clearly did by the end of the royal screwing they took from the officials.
As TMQ might say, you can pencil in "season over" after the entry marked "Ravens."

by buddha (not verified) :: Mon, 10/10/2005 - 12:19pm

Well, the Lions won because the Ravens imploded and the refs helped them out.

BUT, for the first time in a long time, the Lions looked tough. They looked tough against Tampa and tough against Baltimore. After giving up against the Bears, they've bounced back nicely.

Too bad they don't have enough talent to win, but at least they're not crumbling the first time someone hits them hard.

by princeton73 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/10/2005 - 12:38pm

the Ravens are 3-7 in their last 10 regular season games

by Matt (not verified) :: Mon, 10/10/2005 - 12:40pm

Millen's a genius. Why else would he draft WR in the first round every year unless he somehow knew this would happen?

by Johnnyel (not verified) :: Mon, 10/10/2005 - 1:19pm

I've seen it occur before: when harsh words are thrown at an official repeatedly, all of a sudden the vision gets a bit sharper, and those holding penalties that usually slide, don't. It usually happens after a bad call, in this case the fumble-that-wasn't. When players start to lose control, out come the hankies. Throw in spiking the ball on or at a prone player after a pick, and you've got officials tossing guys to try to regain control. It wasn't Ward that shoved the official (it was Reed), but when the zebra moves in to break up post-play shenanigans, you get out the way (Fitzsimmons was walking away, which is why there weren't offsetting penalties). Nobody can defend every call made in a game, but we've all seen worse calls than in this one. The fact is, the Ravens completely lost their collective cool, and behaved like a bunch of jackasses instead of men, and they deserved every unsportsmanlike flag they got. Fans pay to watch pro football--if I wanted to watch a coach wipe the snot off a tantrum-throwing linebacker's nose, I'd watch my local pony league games. Chris, Clarence, Ed, and Mr. Suggs should be losing some bills for their behavior, since the Ravens pay them too much for this garbage. And people complain about TO?
While I'm ranting about the Ravens.... I don't think the Lions got over the goal line on that TD, but it was a stupid waste of a challenge. Did anyone really think they could overturn that call? They'll never have a camera that can catch that.
By the way, the Dolphins set a franchise record with 18 penalties yesterday, too.

by Chillin' on Millen (not verified) :: Mon, 10/10/2005 - 2:26pm

Carl has done that before. He's eerily prescient when he wants to be, then everyone condemns him as an "insider."

by bobstar (not verified) :: Mon, 10/10/2005 - 4:16pm

I dunno, Smashmouth, was that really a cut block? I thought a cut block was when a player hit a player from behind, not from the side. How could a stationary FitzSimmons have hit a sprinting Reed from behind? It looked like he dove at the side of Reed's legs. Is that still a cut block?

And the Ravens O-line was holding a ton. No two ways about it.

That said, it's kind of sad that Harrington was rewarded with a win for his efforts. He apparently graded his performance as "average." Perhaps going 10 for 23 for 97 yards, with 1 TD and 2 Ints for a 34.1 rating is average. For a walk-on free agent. Not for a four year vet who was drafted third overall. I think what gets me most is his wacky combination of defensiveness/optimism. Oh well, at least Millen brought in a serviceable veteran back-up. Oh wait.

by Whatever0 (not verified) :: Mon, 10/10/2005 - 6:15pm

The big thing to remember is, the Ravens lost their cool after a bunch of the tacky penalties had already been called. 15 penalties had been called against the Ravens, 3 against the Lions, when Suggs angrily approached the official. After the TD was given to the Lions anyway, the team just lost it. Given how badly the refs jobbed them, I don't blame them.

It wasn't so much that any one call was completely unforgivable, just that there were a bunch of shaky calls, a couple of downright awful calls, and they weren't calling the Lions out on anything. If the split after the Lions 18 play, penalty-driven drive was something like 19-8 Ravens/Lions, it wouldn't have seemed so bad. But, 19-3? You can't tell me, given how close they were calling the Ravens, that the Lions only committed three penalties midway through the third quarter.

by OMO (not verified) :: Mon, 10/10/2005 - 7:00pm

"He bumped me with malice in his heart and he was gone," Carey said

Quote of the year nominee.

Carey's a good ref and all...but I didn't know one can tell the quantity of malice in another's heart.

by MDS (not verified) :: Tue, 10/11/2005 - 5:12pm

WhateverO, it wasn't 19-3 at the time Suggs got tossed, it was 12-3. And anyway, who says the officials have to asign an equal number of penalties to the two teams? If you have specific calls that you think were wrong, name them, but don't just give a total number of penalties called and use that as evidence of official bias.

by Whatever0 (not verified) :: Wed, 10/12/2005 - 5:25pm

Well, after checking the game log, it appears there were only thirteen penalties called against the Ravens when Suggs approached the official. After the drive, it was seventeen.

I'm not saying there has to be an equal number of calls on each side. I'm just saying that the game was called so tightly against the Ravens, that it doesn't make sense that there's only three against the Lions.

To list the calls I thought were wrong on the Ravens:
Pinners Touchdown and the throw/fumble in the first quarter
Heap: Holding, Suggs: Roughing the passer, Tripping (incidental)

Calls I thought were ticky-tack:
Every defensive holding other than Rolle's first defensive holding (Kemo, Sanders and Gregg)

Calling a taunt on Mason for throwing the ball away from the field of play. (How was that different than just spiking the ball?)

I'm also not entierely sure about Suggs ejection. He didn't chestbump the official or anything. He stepped towards the reg to argue the call, the ref steps towards him, his helmet tips the ref's cap, and he's gone. I'm not saying Suggs wasn't wrong, but I don't see how what he, or Ward, did that so much worse than, say, Barber punching the ref.

The obscene gesture. It was a "pelvic thrust".

I can't remember any specific calls like these that weren't called against the Lions. That's mainly because many of the things called in those penalties above happen in every game, and just aren't called.

I don't have tapes of the game, so, if you can prove my memory of these calls was wrong, please do.