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Ray Lewis: Bengals Didn't Earn Win

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Say what you will about Ray Lewis' history (yes, that history). But in my lifetime of watching football, I'm not sure if I've personally seen a more emotional team leader, a better linebacker or a more respected player in this league (just read what his contemporaries say about him) than Lewis. He's an 11-time Pro Bowler, a seven-time First-Team All-Pro that's won a Super Bowl. He's a hall of famer. To dispute that would just seem petty anymore. You might not like him; in fact you might hate him being a Bengals fan. But at the same time, you sort of have to respect his body of work on the field.

That being said, he was irritate after losing to the Bengals 15-10 saying "They didn't earn it."

"There were six points given off b.s. calls," Lewis said. "You put six points on the (darn) board by people doing their job. There are so many rules that take away from the game. There's too much crying in the game. Football is getting hit. You don't come into a lion's den and be nice. It's embarrassing."

On one hand, it's hard not to disagree. Remember the Justin Smith quarterback sack on Bruce Gradkowski against Tampa Bay in 2006? As normal as a tackle can look, Smith dropped Gradkowski for an eight-yard loss. The sack was flagged for roughing the passer. At the time, Peter King wrote:

HORRENDOUS roughing-the-passer call in Tampa, giving the Bucs good field position as they drive, with a Toledo Rocket at quarterback, Bruce Gradkowski, to try to beat the hanging-on-for-dear-life Bengals at the Pirate Ship."

It wasn't just horrendous. It could be argued that the call cost the Bengals a win over the 0-4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While the sack would have put Tampa Bay out of field goal position that would have set up second-and-18, the penalty pulled Tampa Bay within five yards of the redzone. But that's a simplistic and lazy way of looking at it. The sack didn't prevent Kevin Kaesviharn from badly covering Michael Pittman out of the backfield for a 10-yard pass. Nor did it prevent the Bengals from blowing a third-and-13 from their own 18-yard line that resulted in a touchdown two plays later, eventually losing by one point.

While yes, there's too many rules protecting quarterbacks in this league, they are the same rules applied to all teams. Well, theoretically at least.

As Geoff Hobson points out, the referees didn't call the Ravens for pass inference in the endzone when Terrell Owens was "getting absolutely mauled in the end zone", nor did they give Lewis a personal foul for taking off his helmet when arguing against the tripping called against him earlier in the game.

But to say the Bengals didn't earn it? I suppose you could say that. I mean, Joe Flacco obviously helped us out plenty.