The bounces just aren’t going the Bengals’ way in 2016. After a couple of missed pass interference penalties against Baltimore as Cincinnati was driving, John Harbuagh’s Ravens decided to tap the NFL rule book to seal a last-second win.
On a fourth down from their 28-yard line, Baltimore lined up for a punt with under a minute to play. John Harbaugh, a coach with a special teams background, ran the clock down to 11 seconds. He took a five-yard delay of game penalty to pin his team back at their own 23-yard line with the Bengals poised to have a return and one possible offensive play before the clock expired.
However, Harbaugh used his special teams roots to get his team a much-needed win. Ravens punter Sam Koch took the snap after the penalty, ran around and took a safety as the clock expired. However, as the play ensued, Baltimore was also flagged for a holding penalty. Or rather, many holding penalties.
Even with the foul and Koch running out of his own end zone for a safety, Baltimore was able to win the game due to the league rule book.
Ravens win by holding Bengals intentionally and delaying safety, there's no time extension for the flags pic.twitter.com/cL9AdJaIwv— Vikings Blogger (@firstandskol) November 27, 2016
NFL rules state that the game was over at that point, despite the egregious penalties committed by the Ravens.
There's a penalty in here somewhere. https://t.co/YV20LwN4eY— ThePostGame.com (@ThePostGame) November 27, 2016
This move on Cody Core wasn’t even the worst of what was done by the Ravens to players on the Bengals in the game’s closing seconds.
Wrestlemania 33 https://t.co/cHV8nEWFcg— ThePostGame.com (@ThePostGame) November 27, 2016
Many players were put in choke holds, grabbed by the throat, tugged on, pushed around and treated with utter disrespect.
In Baltimore, foul that occurs in the field of play by offense doesn't extend the period. If foul was in end zone & created safety, it would— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) November 27, 2016
It was a frustrating and essentially fitting end to the Bengals’ playoff hopes this season.
While some fans might call it a gutless maneuver from Harbaugh’s Ravens, it actually shows a sound grasp of the rule book. It’s especially ironic, given the many questionable decisions on behalf of the Bengals’ coaching staff in the same game.
In essence, this type of strategy doesn’t give a team a proper chance to attempt a comeback—an area which the NFL has made a point to amend. Whether it’s extra points or overtime rules, the league has made a point to play into their much-lauded parity tag.
In 2016, the extra point aspect has been a hot-button issue, and, as has been the case in the past, plays going against the Bengals might be brought to the league table again this year. Whatever the case, Baltimore dove into the league rule book to get a much-needed win for their squad and sent Cincinnati into a tailspin.
Just for good measure, the NFL has confirmed the end of the game was officiated properly.
NFL says end of Ravens-Bengals game officiated correctly. Not a palpably unfair act to use that tactic on one play... (continued)— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) November 27, 2016
... (2 of 2) If Ravens had used same intentional holding tactic on a second straight play, it would have been palpably unfair act, NFL says.— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) November 27, 2016