Coach Harbaugh was right. Again.
At the end of the Jacksonville game this past Sunday, there was a play that both defined this season thus far, was fully illegal, and fully un-flagged--just like the myriad of other #PhantomCalls from this season.
"The Facemask of Doom" was the play, but a close look before number 58's erred grab reveals that the play should have been whistled dead, Jacksonville penalized, and the game ended.
Hit the jump to see video proof of yet another goof--by the referees.
Coach Harbaugh, in his Monday press conference, said that they had dialogue with the League Office about this play, and that it was concluded that the Jaguars were not fully set on this play. Which leads me to my seeming favorite pastime this season: quoting the NFL Rule Book (red emphasis mine):
SECTION 4 - ACTION AT OR BEFORE THE SNAP...
Penalty: For a player illegally in motion at the snap: Loss of five yards.
I don't believe the referees don't know the rules. They know them, at least one of the crew realizes that this was clearly violated. And while it was impressive how fast Jacksonville got to the scrimmage, properly aligned, this (red emphasis) was the one facet of the rule that they didn't follow.
Begging your pardon--let my words step aside in order for your eyes to see the evidence:
In the embedded video, we join the game one play before the one in question. Jacksonville's Blake Bortles completes a pass to TE Julius Thomas, who is tackled 12 yards downfield with :08 seconds left.
"We spend a lot of time studying this," Ravens Coach Harbaugh said of the endgame scenarios. He said that the staff believed, in this scenario, that the distance the Jags would need to go, prior to the final play, would make it impossible to get off another snap.
He was right.
The o-line sometimes gets leniency in these calls, but look at the right slot receiver, circled in the video, #88 Allen Hurns. The celebrated rookie does get back to his spot in time, but starting from the millisecond he is set, I embedded a true millisecond timer to gauge the amount of time between that moment and the snap. As you see, it is about 1/3 of a second. Not long enough according to the rules.
And then, the video rolls to approximately 1 second, to show you the moment that the snap should've happened. At that point, the game clock is showing zeroes.
I want to give kudos to Elvis Dumervil, who was simply impeccable in his response towards the media afterwards; he did not have an attitude and truly took responsibility for his part (the ensuing facemask penalty, not included in the video for obvious reasons).
And Coach Harbaugh refuses to give up on he season, something I find inspiring. He said that the Ravens believe that they can still go on a run an d be relevant.
As far as the #PhantomCall, as all the other ones, I humbly submit my conclusion:
Thank you for reading, please feel free to agree/disagree until your heart is content either below or at the forum on BaltimoreSun.com .