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December 14, 2008

Ravens: 92 yards and a cloud of uncertainty

Okay, before I begin whining about the NFL's ridiculous instant replay system, let's stipulate that the Pittsburgh Steelers drove 92 yards to score the winning touchdown in final minutes of a hard-fought game. The Ravens left that door wide open by settling for field goals in a couple of promising situations and by leaving the defense on the field way too much in the second half. No excuses for that and -- to their credit -- the Ravens didn't make any.

Now, upon further review, the officials covered their rear ends by changing their explanation of the decisive play after the game. The original announcement was that receiver Santonio Holmes (right) had both feet in the end zone and possession of the ball, which supposedly made it a touchdown whether the ball broke the plane of the goal line or not.

holmecatch.jpgOf course, the rule is that the ball must break the plane, so referee Walt Coleman told pool reporter Jamison Hensley that he misspoke originally and the ruling was that the ball did, in fact, break the plane, even though there wasn't a single replay that showed that conclusively. Remember, the ball was not ruled a touchdown on the field, so the replay is supposed to show overwhelming evidence that the call was incorrect.

Funny, but when the Ravens challenged a first down call in the second quarter on a one-yard run by Gary Russell, the replay looked to everyone like the ball was stopped more than a yard short of the first down. It seemed pretty conclusive, but the same officials ruled that it was not conclusive enough to overturn the original call. If you watched the game, you know that there was no way anyone could say for sure whether the ball broke the plane on the Holmes catch, but the officials had to come back after the game and claim it was conclusive because they announced an incorrect ruling on the field.

Maybe the Steelers run a quarterback sneak on the next play and win the game. Maybe they kick a field goal and win in overtime, since the Ravens couldn't move the ball against them anyway. Give them credit for being a good team that found a way to win a big game on the road. But please, please, commissioner Goodell, tweak this replay system so that this kind of thing doesn't happen any more.

Getty Images

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 8:35 PM | | Comments (124)
Categories: Just football


That was utter horsecrap. I'm sick of seeing plays that clearly look one way be reversed by millimeters after instant replay review. That call should never have been reversed, and I am not really that big of a Raven's fan.

Unreal...Baltimore gets stepped on again...

We didn't deserve to win anyway

Tough game but the mental toughness of the Steelers led to the final drive winning TD.

I believe Walt "Tuck" Coleman is in love with the attention he gets from making horrible, game-deciding calls.

Check out the fun he has with his charming self-deprecation--

I dont blame the replay system on the mistake -- its the refs themselves that f-ed it up

This really is ridiculous. I feel like many of these refs don't know the rules. From the Charger's game in week one or two to that bogus roughing the passer call against Tennessee, this is really getting out of hand. I don't usually like to just plot stuff on the refs. Usually they are part of the equation, but all too often this year its seems they are dictating the game's outcome. Maybe the coaches opinion and view needs to be considered more. Either way, it's a problem.

Walt(tuck rule) Coleman strikes again.It's not just the Ravens,there are several games every week that are affected by poor officiating.The calls were horrible no doubt,but I'm more curious as to why we changed our defensive strategy that had dominated about 57 minutes of the game.This wasn't what I would call one of Cam's best called games either.The NFL really needs to figure something out with this replay stuff though

That was the worst call ever in the history of football. It doesn't matter if his feet were inside the endzone, if the ball is outside, it is NOT a touchdown. Whoever that ref is, he should not be allowed to come to M & T Bank Stadium ever again. In fact, he must have had a botched neurosurgery recent, because any idiot could see that is not a touchdown.

Oh and by the way, where was our defense? Why weren't we showing Big Ben how much of a wimp he really is? And can somebody, please take out Hines Ward?


AMEN Peter Schmuck. Too bad Steelers fans are irrational lunatics and none of this matters to them

I love the Ravens, but the fact of the matter is that we let Pittsburg drive almost 100 yards.

I am in total agreement on the spot on the Gary Russell run early in the game. Clearly not a first down, and to have it not overturned was embarassing to me as a Steeler fan. I feel that the Holmes catch at the goal line was breaking the plane however, regardless of the location of his feet. Silly explanation, but the right call. Great battle today Ravens, as usual. Be proud that your division mates are going to win the Super Bowl.

I think we see a few plays like this every weekend in the NFL. That is plays that look obvious on the replay, but are the called the other way by the replay booth. The NFL will once again trot out their media trolls to put a happy face on it, but the reality is that officiating in the NFL is crap and has been for a long time.

As for the Ravens, they just can't let the Steelers drive down the field in that situation, They just can't and expect to be called a great defense.

Why would the referee announce that the player had two feet down in the endzone? The location of his feet does not matter at all. All that matters is whether or not the ball crossed the plane. It seems obvious that the official is covering up the fact that he did not know the rule that the ball must be in the endzone whether or not the player is in the endzone.

i did not see the steelers touchdown at the end of the game,but i saw that call on the first down in the second quarter. the ravens got the big shaft on that one. the way i saw that one,the ball never got to the first down marker. i will say the ravens had chances to get touchdowns. today and maybe win the game. . the only problem,the people flacko threw the ball to couldn't catch the ball.

Just out of curiosity, could someone link me to the nfl rulebook concerning touchdowns. I checked and they had nothing on the ruling of touchdowns. Don't get me wrong, I'm not too concerned since the game is over and there's nothing that can be done now, but just for my own interest, I'd like to see the official rule on touchdowns and whether the ball has to break the plane or whether the officials completely botched that call...

The Ravens should sue the officiating league. That call was complete crap.

The officials seem to have it out for the Ravens - this referee doesn't have a clue - he blew two challenge calls - the first down where the ball never came close to the 30 and the touchdown that wasn't - I won't use the word cheat - but this referee doesn't have a clue...

What is silly is that the refs have access to tv angles the public doesnt have. For some reason the networks have quit using the sideline to sideline angle on public tv, yet the camera angle still exists for replays.

The cross sectional overhead angle we see on tv is hard to judge where the furthest point of the ball was, whereas the sideline to sideline hi def shot shows the tip of the ball over the goal line.

This same issuecame up for steeler fans several weeks back when it seemed several shady spots were not overturned, the official answer is that the tv angles always make it look short.

Its almost as if the networks want ref contraversy....


We got hochuli'd .. The call was wrong and the call earlier was bad also. Now would it have made a difference ?? Prob not. But at least us fans in the stands who paid to see this farce would have at least understood.

Its not a conspiracy but just plain bad luck and playing to close to the opponent.

Actually we might be better as a wild card anyhow. Assuming that happens of course. Next weeks officiating crew needs to take off the Dallas is Awesome glasses first.

Catches the ball, player is in endzone, ball is not. He falls forward, away from the goal line and ends up even farther away from the endzone.

Even if you want to spot him forward progress, the ball never breaks the plane.

The call on the field was no touch down. The over turn was based on having possession and both feet down. Nothing about whether the ball broke the plane which is kind of what you need for a TD, or at least that is what I think needs to happen.

So, the officials are saying the ruling on the field was incorrect (after the game, not during, which would actually help clear up how bad of a call it was) and that they over turned the play and got that wrong too?

Two wrongs do not make a right. And in this game there were at least two more wrongs. Delay of game that wasn't called and the first down that never was.

Of course Pittsburgh is going to say Ravens fans are making excuses. When things happen like this time after time in big games, you have to wonder if it is excuses.

Wait a minute. If a ball is caught,say, to the left of the end zone, and the receiver gets both feet in, whether the ball is within the plane, it's a touchdown, so why wouldn't that apply on all 4 sides of the end zone plane/rectangle? Seems like the rule should be consistent. I thought by tapping his toes in the end zone,with posession, it was a touchdown, just as if it were thrown beyond or to the left or right.

Pete's reply: Maybe it should be, but it isn't. You have to break the plane.

I'm a die-hard Steelers fan and I'm willing to admit that was total crap. Those refs should be fired. I would hate to lose like that plus it cheapens our win. Total BS. The refs were pretty bad the whole game. I can recall about 4 or 5 times that James Harrison was being held where he would have had a good chance to sack Flacco...

Is there a luckier team this year than the Stealers? They could easily have lost both games to the Ravens as well as games with San Diego and Dallas and probably at least one more I'm not thinking of... I give them credit for taking advantage of their favorable bounces, but enough already. When is the last time a team recovered a muffed punt for a momentum-changing 30-yard gain?

The 3rd down call was bad. Clearly short. Refs must be gambling like Donovan in NBA.

Rex lost the game though by rushing only 3 the entire last drive. No pressure on Ben gave him confidence to throw.

Wah wah guys choked the whole drive deserved to lose.

I don't want to be one of those people that whines about the refs always going against the Ravens; but I must admit that both of the reviewed plays went pretty contrary to what I saw on my television.

I'm a Ravens fan, but I think that the right call was made. It's hard to look at a close call when it goes against your team and admit that it was the correct call. Especially when it cost you the game. They showed the replay from a good angle that clearly showed the ball breaking the plain when it hit Holmes' hands. All you have to do is break the plain. It was close, but it was a touchdown. Do yourself a favor and look it up on or youtube. Anyone who wants to argue the call is in denial. Now the first down call that was reviewed earlier in the game was a crap call though. He clearly didn't get the first down.

The body is considered an extension of the ball when when both feet are down in the endzone with control of the ball. So the ball did break the plane. The physical ball has to break the plane on a running play. If a player catches a ball w/ both ft at the 35 but has too reach in front to catch the ball the ball is still marked at the 35.

Pete's reply: Not true on the goal line. Two feet rule applies only to sidelines and back of the end zones. If the body was an extension of the ball, then it would be a touchdown if a player touched the pylon with his foot and held the ball out of bounds. Not called that way.

I agree withthe third down carry by Russell. It was definatly short. NBC showed an overhead view of the touchdown and it clearly broke the plane from that view.

The body is considered an extension of the ball when when both feet are down in the endzone with control of the ball. So the ball did break the plane. The physical ball has to break the plane on a running play. If a player catches a ball w/ both ft at the 35 but has too reach in front to catch the ball the ball is still marked at the 35.


How do you think they can tweak the system to prevent a referee from making a call that is obviously wrong? In theory, the replay system is in place to prevent that exact situation. After all, by slowing it down and letting the referee look at all the angles, they are supposed to get it right.

You have exposed that this particular referee likely did not know what rule was being applied in this situation; he appears to have treated it as if it was an in bounds/out of bounds question. I don't know how you tweak that except demanding higher standards out of your referees. To be sure, this season has revealed a need for the NFL to do just that.

If you're going to tweak to fix that, you have to take the burden solely off the referee. What do you change? Bring in other officials and have a consensus among the whole crew? This is an honest inquiry. I don't see how you fix this problem. The Ravens got pretty plainly hosed twice by this system but it's up to the referee (who holds all the power) to get it right.

Pete's reply: How about fining officials when they overturn a call and there clearly is not compelling evidence that it was incorrect.

I'd rather loss 44 to 0 then like this. If the Squealers go for it on 4th down and score. Then you can say they beat us fair and square. But to lose because of two clearly blown instant replay calls is really too much. What about the BS call against Johnson for pushing Mr. Cheapshot in the back that hurt us badly in the first game. Hey, I know the Squealer fans are going to call us crybabies, but these two calls may have cost us our season. I cringe every time I see a guy in a striped shirt.

As a Steelers fan, I thought the overhead showed the ball breaking the "plane," which is the first evidence of the goal line, not the backend before the endzone.

However, even if upheld you still had a fourth down...but we'll never know what Tomlin would have done, no matter what he says.

Thanks for giving the Steelers credit for the final drive (basically the only thing they did all day but drop passes).

See you in the playoffs. But--if you/we make it--they'll be in Pittsburgh.

Ravens fans, stop crying. Even as a Steelers fan, i agree that the call should not have been overturned and been down at the 1 foot line. BUT...your alledged #2 defense let the Steelers drive 90-plus yards in the first place. The Steelers would never let that happen. Plus, most of the game was played as the Steelers side of the field (remember your punter pinned the Steelers inside the 10 four times), but all the Ravens could do was get FGs instead of TDs. Holmes fumbles, Ravens get a FG. Good KO and punt returns, Ravens get FGs. Ravens have a chance to go up 6 late in the game, Ravens get sacked and are out of FG range. So don't blame the last play because any athlete will tell you games are not won or lost on one play

We can blame the refs or we can blame the fact that we couldn't score a touchdown despite many golden opportunities to do so. Personally, I blame the latter. We couldn't put them away and therefore didn't deserve to win. If you offense puts the defense in a situation where the only way you win is if you hold them to no touchdowns, you're not going to win.

I don't think there's any problem with the replay system. It was bad refereeing, plain and simple. Walt Coleman needs to get his eyes checked (and review the definition of a touchdown).

Rule 32-a-e: if both feet are in and you have possession it's a touchdown even if the ball isnt across the plane.

as a steelers fan, i do think that the santonio catch was a touchdown. however, i agree completely that this was a ridiculous subversion of what instant replay should be used for. the nfl should be ashamed of itself with this season in terms of officiating gaffes and procedural issues.

my hats off to the ravens, who played an exceptional game and are true competitors. for how intense the lead-up to this game was i saw nothing but respect and tenacity by both squads. look forward to seeing you all again in the AFC championship (is that possible?).

Come on everyone, the NFL wants the big Titans/Steelers matchup next week for AFC home field advantage. The Ref's were ordered to do everything they can to ensure a Steeler victory.

Just get rid of the entire replay system and let the officials call the game. I've never liked replay. It just slows the game - like TV station breaks.

I'm a die-hard Steelers fan and I'm willing to admit that was total crap. Those refs should be fired. I would hate to lose like that plus it cheapens our win. Total BS. The refs were pretty bad the whole game. I can recall about 4 or 5 times that James Harrison was being held where he would have had a good chance to sack Flacco...

the NFL still hates the Ravens, plain and simple.

What is funny about the entire replay system is that for years so many people complained to get the calls correct. Now with reply we still complain. Why not just go back to judgement call? That one play didn't lose the game for the Ravens, look at the stats for the game where did they win anything or do better then Pittsburgh? Total net yards 202, 3rd down conversion 4-14, Steelers 8-17. Admit it, they have a better defense.

From my big screen TV the ball went across the plain, watch in HD and you can see it better.

I am hoping the NFL, in the person of Roger Goodell, apologizes to Baltimore and its fans for basically being robbed of the division title and any home playoff games.

Well Ravens fans,

If you're a Steeler fan, that ball crossed the plain, if you're a Ravens fan, then I guess it didn't. As a Steeler fan, I grant you it could have gone either way, but it sure looked to me that the ball crossed the plain when Santonio caught it, and then he tucked it in right before the Ravens player hit him, but what does this stinkin' Steelers fan know, eh?

Another blown call by the officials. This jerk Coleman was probably corrected by the NFL PR or Referees association before talking to the press so he didnt look like a bonehead and create a major controversy for the NFL. This game had major playoff implications for the Ravens, Jets, Pats, Fins, and potentially the #1 and#2 seed in the AFC. What a joke. I am a huge Ravens fan and the bottom line is we couldnt score TD's and settled for FG's and couldnt stop a great team again when we needed to. Remember the Titans earlier this year and Steelers game earlier this year...getting stops and scoring TD's when they need to. That's the difference between a good and great team. Completely sick over threfs though...just sick

If Mason had made the catch in the end zone, or if the Ravens had not settled for field goals, maybe it would have been a different story.

The Ravens coaching staff has to understand one thing. The Billick era is over. It is time for the Ravens to stop being so conservative and open up the offense. Now they clearly have the personnel to do it. The only reason for the Baltimore loss today was the ugly offensive game plan by Cam Cameron. If you don't play to win, you're guarantied to lose.

About the referees. It was a disgrace how incompetent they were with the booth review. Watching some downright obvious rulings being overturned makes you wonder: could we have in NFL what they had in NBA with corrupted officials? I can't explain how they got a few challenges so wrong, especially on the Steelers touchdown.

Refs who don't know what constitutes a TD attempt to cover their A's. Inexcusable.

I hate using the Refs as a way to complain about a game but WOW. Even the guys on NBC doing the Sunday night pregame show said there was no way that was conclusive. Personally, I do not think the Ravens will make the playoffs now. The Steelers seem to be the same exact team as us, just that much better. Its ridiculous how many times this year the Ravens have lost a close game due to a ref's call, right or wrong.

You're right. There is no way that call should have been reversed. I saw the play ten times and couldn't really tell whether the front of the ball touched the front of the goal line. Perhaps Brian Billick was right when he blurted out on live radio that "the instant replay isn't worth a f-ing dime". At least not when administered by these fools.

Incredible that a multi-billion dollar business has officiating that is suspect on a weekly basis and that includes instant replay, which for all intents and purposes doesn't work as intended! That being said, it wasn't the officiating that cost the game as much as Cam Cameron's imitation of Brian Billick's having the QB "manage" the game and play "not to lose" - negative attitudes usually produce negative results!

Replay freeze frame at moment of catch showed the ball broke the field side of the white goal line. Correct call to overturn the field call which was initially made by the ref whose direct view of the goal line was blocked by a player (visible in same freeze frame), which forced him to view from a slight end zone side angle (which made the ball appear to him short of the goal line).

Pete's reply: Obviously, it wasn't conclusive or we wouldn't all be arguing about it. If one angle made it look like it crossed and five made it look like it didn't, then it's not conclusive. They didn't reverse the first down call (two yards wrong) because they said they didn't have a great angle. Go figure.

I am a Pittsburgh Steeler season ticket holder. I understand your feelings as we have had many letters from the league on Monday saying the officials blew calls.I believe that the replay from above shows that the line was touched which is all that was needed. Your team played very well and it looks like we will have many more classic games in the future. I guess you will find out on Monday if the league sends a letter. Take it from me, it won't help. There may be another game if you make the playoffs. It will be another classic!

I hate to say this but the reason we lost this game is the performance of Flacco

The game plan was way too conservative. Two plunges and a short pass was a big factor in the loss. It appeared that the coaching staff had Flacco under wraps. Limit his participation and then let the defense win the game. We needed to be more innovative on offense. In past games we were. Too bad.

no division championship, no Teixeira

They need a separate ref in the booth to make those calls, the way the NCAA does. Those refs on the field are a disgrace, week in, week out.

The leauge stated that the decision was based on Rule 32, Sections A-E. The problem is there is no Rule 32 that describes the criteria of a touchdown. Once again the league is telling us we didn't see what we saw. Screw them all!

They should call the Baltimore defense the "58 D" (58 Minute Defense.)
They are one of the top 3 defenses in the league. But with the game on the line and just a few minutes left in the game, our defense often fails to come through. Also, knowing that Ward is the Steelers go to guy, the defense practically just let him run free

I'm really sick and tired of watching football games decided not by the players, but by the refs. While I'm a bit sore that the Ravens got jobbed here, this seems to happen in every game, every week. Every NFL game I watch, regardless of who's playing, has at least a half dozen bogus calls, and at least another half dozen calls that aren't made. While in baseball this kind of stuff evens out over a long season, the NFL has only 16 games, and three or four really bad calls can turn at 10-6 playoff season into a 6-10 fire-the-coach season. All the money flowing through this sport and the NFL can't hire fulltime refs? ...This has got to stop. It's ruining the sport (at least for me).

Pete Iam as much a Raven fan as any but I think they should do away with the replay and they should do away with it in the stadium as well. You can't fault a referee for making a split second decision if 70,000 people get to watch the play over & over magnified 100 times.

Maybe those two replays were karmic retribution for the refs missing the rampant holds on James Harrison all game long.

Maybe those two replays were karmic retribution for the refs missing the rampant holds on James Harrison all game long.

yes, peter, you're right, maybe the steelers win the game in ot because they would have def. attempted a fg, but let them legitimally win the game; not like this; can't wait till we hopefully get another crack in the playoffs at pitt

Anybody else tired of losing games on bad calls? I thought the refs would start seing it our way after Billick was fired. It sems we keep getting shafted. When are Dick Cass and Steve Bisciottis going to show their clout? Right now it looks llike they have no clout.

ugh... i feel like my bleeding purple heart was ripped out indiana jones style. I'm not as upset about the reversal as i am at our offensive game plan, which i believe was keep running the ball on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd and 7, then punt, hope the defense forces a punt, and then do it all over again. cameron and harbaugh threw a crapper of a game plan out there. they coached scared like you would say when a player plays scared.

It has been known for some time that Walt Coleman is probably the worst referee in the NFL. His controversial calls are an embarassment to the league and they must do something about it. There is even a web site about how bad he is. BTW I am a Panther fan and have no personal interest in who won this game.

Would you like some cheese?

Why can't they have a fixed camera along the goaline.

It was the same controversy with Ben's QB sneak in SB XL. The camera angles shown to us by CBS were all terrible angles to form an opinion from. You can't tell if the ball crosses the plane if the camera is not on the exact same plane. That's just geometry.

I am a Ravens fan and the overhead video view on CBS is the one that conclusively shows the bowl crossing the plane. For some reason, nobody is focusing on that video angle on the post-game show front. Seems like excuses to me.

Pete's reply: That's fine, but if one angle shows it crossed the plane and five look like it didn't, that doesn't sound conclusive to me.

Ravens fans -

play me the world's smallest violin. try scoring more than 9 points. whiny losers complain about the referees. i doubt too many people complained about the refs when the ravens beat the steelers 27-0 with 9 sacks in '06. Score more points. Don't give up a 92 yard drive when it counts. now, go lose to the cowboys.

The Russell first down call seemed pretty weak to me, but I never saw anything resembling a straight on angle on that one, so that MIGHT explain why they felt they couldn't overrule the original spot.

Initially, I thought the Holmes TD was correct on the field. When Chris Collinsworth (on NBC) used the on-screen marker to show the plane of the goal, it looks like the referee got the call right, though I suspect he might have gotten it right for the wrong reasons.

Some of the stuff is whining, though, especially some of the "worst ever" nonsense, and conspiracy theories. If the refs had it in for the Ravens, they would't have allowed the Ravens to hold Harrison on just about every single passing down.


Peter- Who do you hear are some of the pitchers the O's are after now? I mean, we heard names, but other teams are now interested in those guys, so the O's are out. Free Agent Pitching is expensive, and the O's don't spend money, so I'm wondering what wash-up bumb they will go after or call out of retirement?
In all seriousness, Mulder is supposedly 100%. I think that is a good risk for a veteran. At 32, he could get back to Cy Young form if he stays healthy. What do you think?

Pete's reply: If it were my money, I wouldn't spend it in Mulder. He says he's 100 percent. What did you think he was going to say when he wants someone to risk millions on him.

"Pete's reply: That's fine, but if one angle shows it crossed the plane and five look like it didn't, that doesn't sound conclusive to me."

C'mon, Pete. So, if you have five obstructed or poor angles, and one that clearly and definitively shows it, the number of poor angle shots overrules the quality of the good one? If a player's body prevents you from seeing if the ball hit the ground on a catch attempt on 3 out of 4 angles, but the fourth one clearly shows the ball hitting the ground, the presence of the three bad ones makes the fourth on inconclusive?

If the angle is straight on and clearly shows the plane of the goal, then that makes it conclusive, no matter how many bad angles you want to use to try and counter-balance it.

Now it seems like you're clinging to your sour grapes.

Pete's reply: No sour grapes. The Ravens didn't play well enough to win anyway. But there was no replay that was clearly conclusive.

Whether or not the ball broke the plane or not is immaterial. It was either a touchdown by an inch or it was an inch short of a touchdown. Everyone is acting like that was a 4th down play. The Steelers would have likely punched it in from the one inch line anyway. The real issue is that the Raven defense failed when it could not afford to.

well, the better team won ! Just because it did. The drive was not stopped by the Raven defense, so they didnt deserve to win ! Simple. Thats it !

From the rule book: "Article 1 It is a touchdown (3-38):
(a) when a runner advances from the field of play and the ball touches the opponents’
goal line (plane); or
(b) while inbounds any player catches or recovers a loose ball (3-2-3) on or behind the
opponents’ goal line."

Passes are loose balls by definition. Part (b) doesn't clearly state whether it's the ball or the player that needs to be behind the goal line, but seeing as a receiver becomes a runner as soon as he catches the ball, there would be no need for part (b) unless it was only the player that needed to be on or behind the goal line.

typical wah wah balti-hole fans. maybe if your team could cash the checks their pie holes write, you would have something.

I'm not sure why, but if you go back a few years, Rex Ryan defenses continue to come up short when the game is on the line.

We can go on and on about the officials (they were really bad today) but like many realists said, our D is what allowed the Steelers to drive 92 yards.

We played too close conservative (Brian Billick) football. Then when the game was on the line, Rex's D it always does.

Go back to last year in particular... Cleveland game, Pats game, even the Jets game which we only won because Justin McCareins can't catch... Bottom line, the defense is great for MOST of the game.

And another thing, Terrell Suggs is terrific against Cincy, Miami, and Cleveland, but he gets lost in the shuffle against the big dogs. Where's T-Sizzle at when it counts?

We need to bust up this defense, get some real WRs, and start playing balanced football.... MORE IMPORTANTLY, playing games "to win," rather than "playing not to lose."

I'd like to see a win in Dallas, but don't count on it.

Pete's reply: There's some truth there. I thought the offense did not do enough to keep the defense off the field. Eventually, those guys are going to wear down.

The initial call was wrong, and the call was properly reversed with instant replay.
Look at the above photo where the Steeler Wide Receiver is in relationship to the goal line. Now go back and look at where the wide receiver was standing. Inside the end zone. The Ravens defense blew the game. Not the officials.

Hmmm... I don't see any Ravens fans complaining about the officiating when they had the ball. For example, the 19 yard pass play to Clayton on their second-to-last possession, midway through the 4th quarter. There was a textbook hold of James Harrison that went uncalled on that play. After the play, CBS even showed two or three zoomed-in replays of the blatant hold.

Or how about the fact that overall, the Ravens weren't called for a single hold in the game. Pretty damn unlikely that they didn't actually commit a few holding penalties.

Oh yeah -- also -- even if the replay reversal was wrong, the Steelers still earned 91 of those 92 yards on the final drive. Not exactly a winning performance in the clutch by the Baltimore defense.

Stop whining! The Official NFL Rulebook, (p. 71):

Rule 11 Article 1 Section 2 Touchdown
Article 1 It is a touchdown (3-38):
(a) when a runner advances from the field of play and the ball touches the opponents'
goal line (plane); or
(b) while inbounds any player catches or recovers a loose ball (3-2-3) on or behind the opponents' goal line.

In this case rule (b) applies even when the ball does not touch or break the plane.
This rule also applies to situations where the player gets two feet down in the end zone,
while the ball may be outside the end zone. We see this more often on the sidelines of the end zone.
This rule should be changed, because the ball did not make it into the end zone. But the ruling on the review is correct, according to current NFL rules.
***TouchDown Steelers!***

Pete's reply: You're interpretation is ridiculous, but it's all moot now anyway.

I just want to know why the Steelers during their offensie posessions are not held to the 40 sec play clock. How many delay of games did they have that were never called...??? I counted 4

Nobody seems to have mentioned the other delay of game by the officials.

The Ravens are starting to move the ball and move it well. The Ravens used an unbalanced line and Willie Anderson moves and lines up where he is supposed to be. The play is run and there is no flag on the field.

The referees stop play and are standing around discussing a non-call for about 2-3 minutes. Then they see fit to tell us that Willie Anderson made a mistake, and then lined up correctly, so there was no penalty.

That's nice. But the fact that there was no flag on the field was enough evidence to me that there was no penalty. If you wanted to debate it for so long, throw a flag, discuss it, then tell us the outcome.

This allowed the Steelers to rest and disrupted the momentum the Ravens were building at the time.

We'll take all the holding calls on Harrison if you take all the ones on Haloti Ngata.

You all are right about the poor calls made by the refs, but what about the non-calls like the constant horse-collaring on James "silverback" Harrison. They did get right with that personal foul call on the kicker. I guess he didn't realize he was playing against such SOFT players. Stillas get started on filling up the other hand with Super Bowl Bling. See next year old Browns. GO STEELERS!!!! Oh yeah and by the way, did you all like how hines ward shredded the ravens D with his receiving and not his blocking this time. SOFT

Uuugh! Why do you change from a strategy that squelched the Steeler offense all game. Remember the biggest games that the Steelers have lost? They have a theme, and that theme is putting pressure on Roethlisberger and having him make a boneheaded mistake in crunch time. We played like champions most of the game and played scared when it counted, REX! And whatever happened to one of the more innovative offenses in the game? It's been a while since we've seen Troy Smith. I thought this was the game we were saving him for. Guess I was wrong. I thought it was a touchdown at the end of the game, but when ruled not so, No way should they overturn. Don't get me started on the first down that was a yard and a half short challenge gone awry.

The Ravens were too timid all game with the play calling. Its like Harbaugh was too afraid to show off Flacco. Where was Troy Smith and the Wildcat?? Playing a field position game isnt gonna work....stop punting and tryting to pin the Steelers deep and hope for a mistake and play freaking some moxy!!!!

Steelers won the division the North is ours once again and you Ravens fans can look up at us in the standings for another year. Where was Ray Ray at in this game? He looked old and tired all game. I wasnt worried at all during this game....Ravens didnt look like they wanted to win while Pittsburgh proved to the NFL WHOS the BEST DEFENSE in the league.

Good luck making the guys are in trouble. GO STEELERS!!!!!!!!! 2008 Division Champs!!!!!

I heard a shot from the grassy knoll, Yes both replays should have gone the way of the Ravens! The NFL continues blowing calls and tries to fix them at a later time, sadly it was this time for the Ravens. I feel these calls cost the Ravens the game, or upon further review did it?

The only thing I can say about a prevent defense, is it prevents you from winning more often than not. For 57 mins of the game, The Ravens put some pressure on the Steelers offence, and did a fair job. The last 3 mins, we let them do what ever they wanted too, by trying to prevent a td.

Bad calls? yep, but so what. They never should have been there in the first place.

To coach Ryan, please,,, dance with the one that brung ya... Please e willing to lose 100-0, but bring pressure... As you can see, passive doesn't work. See earlier Colts and Steelers games for further video review...

Well, if the NFL hates the Ravens, and the league's refs are cheaters and rule breakers, and your Monday morning is ruined by a game that the fans did not play, and your vaunted defense let the pathetic Steeler offense move 92 yards in a couple minutes at HOME, well, there's only one solution: Hello, CFL? We'd like to rejoin!

No matter how you see that call, it was a real nailbitter and one of the best Ravens/Steelers games I have seen.

LOL, the Ravens should sue everyone. They got hosed Bobby....HAHAHA...If any of you "fans" would take a breath and actually look at the replay, you will see the the moment the ball hits Santonio's hands, it is over the white. TA DA! or should I just say TD...fools

Pete's reply: I only watched the replay about 10 times. It isn't conclusive. I don't think it decided the game, so you don't have to make up anything in retrospect to justify your position. There was no clearcut replay. Period.

Quit crying already. We stunk it up in the second half. We had almost 150 yards of offense in the first only to end up with 202 total.

And our great defense? Clearly secondary to the unit the Steelers fielded yesterday. Lewis is a tired player yet his mouth is youthful as ever.

And for the comment that Big Ben is a cry baby, come on. Did you see him drive the team at the end? He doesn't cry about bad calls that don't go his way or penalties that seem to be two to one each week against his team.

There was an angle showing the ball breaking the goal line. Our angst should be did Holmes have clear posession?

Lastly, Steelers fans are by far the best and most traveled in the league. They love their team as they should. Especially this version. It seems we were watching, and losing too, a team of destiny.

Thanks D, for allowing a drive of almost the entire field. It wouldn't of happened in their house.

We need to focus on Big D now. As they won last night, the game is now very important to them. I think we're toast. Get over it.

Ravens lose and the fans want to believe it was because the refs took the game away from them. Well consider that the Steelers had more first downs, more yards, more time of possession, held Flacco to a miserable 22 QB rating, gave the Ravens a field goal on a turnover at the own 16 (from which the Ravens only managed that measly field goal) and drove 92 yards in the final four minutes on the Ravens D. People, you can cry all you want about the call, but he numbers don't lie. The Steelers whipped our butts fair and square.

the game plan sucked from the first snap on. i thought maybe trent dilford was back. two runs up the middle incomplete pass punt . is brian billick back.

Hey Schmuck quit your whining. Have you seen some of the calls against the Steelers that weren't even close. The Ravens (formerly the old Cleveland Browns) are looked upon as so "lights out" on defense, but often don't get it done. The Steelers punk you when it counts and I don't even like them! I'm an Eagles fan I've got my own team issues...

1.) It is a touchdown when a runner advances from the field of play so that the ball PENETRATES the verticle plane of the opponent's goal line.

2.) It is a touchdown when as loose ball is caught or recovered by a player while the ball is ON or BEHIND hi sopponent's gola line

I can tell by the comments that the balck birds are going nowhere again this season. I beleive the fans do not understand that the Steelers had (1) won the game (2) had several more ways to win the game (3) by going on 4th and scoring(since they just marched on 90 yards against that defense-it seems likely) or by OT they would have stopped the BB if they had won the toss or if the 5 times SB champs had won they would have marched in from wherever they were on the field. Here in Dallas we know that it "is what it is" and your either a winner or a continuing loser. From another 5 time SB city- take my word for it- Baltimore is a loser and Pittsburgh is a winner! Keep your comments coming to show the world what you are- a whine & whine some more loser city just like the whiner you have as a coach.

Pete's reply: The coach didn't complain a bit. Obviously, you don't bother to think before you write, but write back soon anyway.

I've been a Steelers fan for 37 years. And I have one thing to say:


Pete's reply: Since you;re from Pittsburgh, I guess you have to have a sense of humor.

I see ray Lewis and the Ravens fans whining about getting beaten by the Steelers AGAIN!

Yes, the officiating teams are giving the Steelers "extra" help in winning. Hahaha. The Ravens fans are almost as big a bunch of crybabies as the Settle Seahawks fans.

Face it. The Ravens are not the better team. They will more than likely be flattened the first round of the playoffs - that's assuming they even get in!


"Wait a minute. If a ball is caught,say, to the left of the end zone, and the receiver gets both feet in, whether the ball is within the plane, it's a touchdown, so why wouldn't that apply on all 4 sides of the end zone plane/rectangle? Seems like the rule should be consistent. I thought by tapping his toes in the end zone,with posession, it was a touchdown, just as if it were thrown beyond or to the left or right.

Pete's reply: Maybe it should be, but it isn't. You have to break the plane. "

The only MAYBE in play here is whether the league will rewrite the rule book to clarify this situation, because as of the 2006 Rule Book, available online

Why a bunch of highly paid "expert" commentators and journalists can't be bothered to discover easily available information online that casual fans can is beyond me. The much bigger controversy at play here should be how this section of the rulebook is (poorly!) written. But just sit there arguing about Angle X (oblique right sideline) looks short but Angle Y,Z (overhead, straight on goal line, left pylon) look across the plane. (and are subject to far lesser depth perception distortions by definition)

Now if the rulebook said "while inbounds, on or behind the opponents' goal line, any player catches or recovers a loose ball (3-2-3)." or "while inbounds any player catches or recovers a loose ball (3-2-3) that is on or behind the opponents' goal line" we could fall back on simply arguing whether the video showed it across the plane as being the most important part of this puzzle.

Pete's reply: You're grasping at straws. The rule has been, for as long as I can remember, that the ball must break the plane. That's why it's not a touchdown on a quarterback sneak when the player's head is in the end zone and the ball isn't. It isn't the same as a back-of-the-end zone catch or an out-of-bounds play. Just isn't. That may not be consistent, but that's the way it's called....until yesterday.

Pete's reply: You're grasping at straws. The rule has been, for as long as I can remember, that the ball must break the plane. That's why it's not a touchdown on a quarterback sneak when the player's head is in the end zone and the ball isn't. It isn't the same as a back-of-the-end zone catch or an out-of-bounds play. Just isn't. That may not be consistent, but that's the way it's called....until yesterday.

With respect, I disagree. I'm not grasping at anything, I'm arguing 2 simple things:

1- that this play highlights how poorly the (newest currently available online-- admittedly I am assuming the current NFL rules have not amended/changed this section) NFL Rule Book is written, and pointing out two alternative "writings" that would establish whether the original post that you had replied to was 100% correct or 100% wrong, and would as well create an implicit definition that the ball must break the plane on all TDs-- which that 2006 rule book does not ever explicitly state.

2- that nobody in the "football universe of TV/Radio/etc" that I have seen has found this glaring flaw in the rules; yet casual fans have.


Pete - The ball DOES NOT have to break the plane if the person holding it is in the end zone. You're wrong man. How many times have you seen a receiver catch a ball that is clearly out of bounds while his feet touch in bounds? Is that a reception? Same principle man. I'm just waiting for the NFL to come out and say it today.

Pete's reply: That does not apply to the goal line.

Waaaaah! Waaaaah! Waaaaah!

My problem with it all is two-fold bringing both calls ( the 1st down stop and the TD call) and Walt Coleman himself into play...

The replay rules state that there must be "undeniable video evidence" to overturn the call made on the field...

In the case of the first down call, the replays I saw certainly showed more evidence that the ball did not cross the 1st down marker than it wasn't definitive, but it was certainly persuasive.

In the case of the TD call, the field call was that he did NOT break the plane and the replays I saw certainly did NOT show anything 'definitive' or even 'persuasive'.

Yet Coleman let the first call stand and reversed the second, when it seemed more logical to have done the opposite...that they both benefited the Steelers must be looked upon as odd and certainly not consistent...why?

The only way that the replay system can be viable is for the field refs to be taken completely out of the review and trained video replay personnel either in the stadium or at NFL HQ making the review and decision then relaying it to the field personnel.

A variaton of that works for both the NCAA and the NHL and I hear far fewer complaints more games...than the NFL.

All field goal and letting the Steelers move 92 yards will not win you a game. But the ineptness of the 2 calls does not help. Since when do you over turn a ruling on the field with no clear proof and from the tv replays there was none. As for the first down, well everyone in the country and tv announcers as well saw that the call was wrong except for the person who spotted the ball and the head ref(or headless ref)

You're the one grasping at straws, Pete. Get over it. There is at least 20 blown calls every game. Ben would've snuck it in next play anyway. I'm just shocked there is no Seahawks fans on here crying about Super Bowl XL.

Plus, if the play would've been called a TD originally, and then not been overturned, all you Ravens fans would be talking about how "conclusive" it was than Santonio did not reach the end zone. You haven't beaten anybody good all year, and you won't in the playoffs either, if you even make it, which I'm guessing you won't after you lose to Dallas next week.

Pete's reply: Actually, Tomlin would have gone for the field goal. At least one player said that in the locker room afterward.

The reason that it's not the same as the back or sides of the endzone is the fact that the ball technically "BREAKS" the plane as it travels through the air into the endzone.

The ball yesterday never made it into the endzone whatsoever. Moreover, how the call could be overturned is a travesty. It's one thing if it was ruled a TD on the field, but it wasn't.

Think about it, the NFL had an agenda here. We play on NFL Network next week against a Cowboys team who is in the same "must win" position after defeating the Giants. ... Also, the Giants and Panthers game is now flexed to Sunday night and it all of a sudden means everything... Same with the Steelers and Titans game.

There's an agenda, guys. I'm not saying that it's fixed... but more and more it becomes apparent that things go certain ways for certain reasons. Think about the Patriots game in Baltimore last year.

It's not a Baltimore thing, it's a league thing. Happens all the time.

Eventually, we may as well rename the league WWF.

And let me add one more thing...during the Redskins/Bengals game earlier in the day, former Cowboy fullback Darryll Johnston recalled catching a pass and being upended at the goal line so that his body, head, and arms were IN the endzone but his hands holding the ball were not...Emmett Smith scored a TD on the next play.

In relation to passes caught in the back of the endzone or sides, the ball HAS crossed the goal line before the catch is made.

Great post, Pete. I think you covered all of your bases. The Ravens certainly should have played better (especially on offense) and we did not look like we had the number two defense in the league.

That said, that was not a touchdown. I was at the game and even Steelers fans admitted it wasn't. You can't really call it whining when we're pointing out the obvious.


how do you take a page out of the worst ofh Brian Billicks game plans, and give it to a rookie QB, and try to win a key game?Only run inside the tackels, and only pass when everybody knows you have to. u don`t play a game so close that one mistake by the ravens or the officalls cost u the game, u have to mix up the play calling, or lose.

I am so sick of everyone saying that this is a GREAT defense. They are not; they are very good, but not great.

1) Great defenses don't give up 92 yard drives to lose games. Nor is this the first time this has happened. They made Collins look the Unitas earlier in the season. They couldn't stop the Steelers earlier in the first game in overtime. In big situations they often come up small.

2) Lets not forget that they got smacked in the mouth by the Giants, and run out of the building by the Colts.

3) The offenses that they have dominated have not been the most intimidating collection of opponents.

4) For the people who say that the defense carries this team, I say they should. Look at the money spent on the defensive side of the ball.

Having said all that I still am impressed with what this team has done this year, far exceeding my wildest expectations.

P.S. The officials are abominable everywhere, and need to be held accountable.

I just want to make two points:

1. Let us banish the "prevent" defense once in for all - it is like telling our defense that we don't really trust you anymore.

2. It is time now for Flacco to step up and lead the team to play-offs. After this game, he is no more a rookie. We will see what leadership material he is made up of in this upcoming against Dallas on the road.

Listen all you whiny Ravens,how many times has a runners foot hit the pylon yet the ball is out of bounds and its a touchdown.When I receiver has his toes in the edge on the side of the endzone and catches the ball out of bounds its a touchdown.Well I would think the same goes for a ball caught in the front of the end zone what is the difference.A quarterback could be near the sidelines and throw a ball down the sideline completely out of bounds the whole way to the receiver but if he catches it in the side of the end zone with hs feet in bounds it would still be called a touchdown even though the ball never crossed the plane of the end zone.

Pete's reply: You might think it, but you would be wrong. The same rule does not apply to the goal line.

Pete's reply: You might think it, but you would be wrong. The rule is different for the goal line.

this is sooooooo depressing. all refs/umps hate baltimore!! why us???

We should just stick sensors in the football and create a laser system at the goal line that will not have any error. What other solution is there...the technology is there, but yet we use idiot humans to decide outcomes like this one.

Ugh.....I just hate I have to listen to Steelers fans run their trap again.

The first explanation proved the ref didn't now the rule. The second was a cover up.

Joe Flacco hit the rookie wall in his first big pressure game. Happens to most rookies about this time of the year. That is to be expected. The rest of the big bad Ravens didn't pick him up. See you next year.

the gary russel challenge has to be the biggest indicator that the nfl loves the steelers and hates the ravens there was no way in the world he made a first down and that ref gave it to him

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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