BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 20: In an act of protection, referee Ron Winter #14 covers his head after he is caught up in a fight for a fumbled ball between the Baltimore Ravens and the Cincinnati Bengals in the third quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on November 20, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens won, 31-24. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
This play will be talked about for years, as the Justin Smith not-sack is talked about five years later. With 5:43 remaining against Baltimore, on third and two from the Ravens two-yard line, Andy Dalton fires a fast ball to Gresham, who runs a hitch near the left sidelines a handful of yards beyond the first down. Gresham juggles the football, but manages to secure possession, breaking the goalline for the touchdown. As Gresham falls out of bounds, well beyond the goalline (with possession practically established in the rule of common sense), the football touches the ground and Gresham's hand momentarily shifts on the football. After a five-minute review, the play is judged incomplete and the Bengals have to settle for a field goal.
Now if the officials didn't feel they had enough evidence to overturn the call, thus leaving the play as is, Cincinnati scores a touchdown, closing the deficit to three points with at least another possession upcoming. Same situation later in the game, fourth and goal from the Ravens 17-yard line, Mike Nugent kicks the game-tying field goal sending us into overtime -- or God forbid an opportunity to win the game in regulation (just give it to Brian Leonard somehow).
The impact of the not-touchdown call awarded to Gresham was significant enough that one could argue it changed the entire outcome. Yes. Cincinnati needed a touchdown and field goal no matter what, so what's the difference what order they acquired those scores? The problem is that they scored the needed touchdown, save for Ron Winters meticulous pixel-by-pixel examination with multiple high definition cameras.
We know selecting a play that caused a negative outcome during Cincinnati's loss on Sunday isn't ideal. But all things considered, it was the most powerful play (and call) during Cincinnati's 31-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.