Football Zebras™

Live blog: Texans at Ravens

AFC Divisional Playoff

We will be live blogging the calls and rules interpretations from the Texans-Ravens game.

If you have any questions or comments, use the comments section of this post, or tweet us @footballzebras.

Pete Morelli is the referee. Full crew list is at the bottom of the post.

Sun • 4:17 pm EDT • 

Game summary. That must have been a nerve-wracking game to officiate. Many tight calls that were called correctly. The two replay reversals were a matter of inches and correctly overturned. Penalties: None in the second half, except a Texans penalty that was declined. Texans 3 for 20 yards, Ravens were not penalized. Replay: A Ravens challenge was upheld, two booth reviews overturned the spot of the ball.

Sun • 4:05 pm EDT • 

4th Qtr | 1:38 A quarter yard to go for the first down, as Morelli reviews the spot of the ball in relation to the first down.

Sun • 3:56 pm EDT • 

4th qtr | 2:07. The potential for a Texans fumble is not reviewable, because there is a down-by-contact ruling.

Sun • 3:47 pm EDT • 

4th Qtr | 8:11. The Texans were able to gain yardage on their own fumble. The restriction is placed on fumbles after the two-minute warning or on fourth down. (In those cases, the ball goes back to the spot of the fumble.)

Sun • 3:41 pm EDT • 

4th Qtr | 10:22 Texans defensive back Daniel Manning bumped into Ravens receiver Ed Dickson a split-second before the ball reached Dickson on a second down pass play. In real time, it looked simultaneous. Only on replay could you see Manning disrupt the receiver just before the ball arrived.

Sun • 3:28 pm EDT • 

Earlier, there was a Ravens injury to Ed Reed. The rule is that the injured player must sit out for one down. However, if the team calls a timeout, the player may return. Rulebook, 4-5-3:

When an injury timeout is called, the injured player must leave the game for the completion of one down. The player will be permitted to remain in the game if: (a) either team calls a charged team timeout…

Sun • 3:19 pm EDT • 

3rd Qtr | 1:53 On two straight Ray Rice runs, the officials spotted the ball well, just short of the goal line on each run.

Sun • 3:19 pm EDT • 

3rd qtr | 1:59. Two quick, decisive calls by the line judge, Byron Boston. Ravens were short on the 3rd-and-goal and 4th-and-goal plays. Video of the play: http://www.nfl.com/videos/auto/09000d5d82606d24/Texans-goal-line-stand

Sun • 2:35 pm EDT • 

First half summary. Penalties: Texans 3 for 20 yards, Ravens have none. Replay: One challenge by the Ravens was upheld; one booth review reversed the touchback

Sun • 2:34 pm EDT • 

2nd qtr | :28. Tough call to make in real time, but a correct reversal. It was clear that the Ravens, downing the ball, stepped into the end zone. That means the player is considered in the end zone, even if he is in the air.

Sun • 2:34 pm EDT • 

2nd Qtr | 0:28 Baltimore DB Danny Gorrer stepped on the goal line just before jumping and batting the ball down inside the five. The sideline replay showed this clearly. This overturned the call on the field, from the ball being spotted at the 1, to a touchback. A rare missed call on the field by this crew.

Sun • 2:14 pm EDT • 

2nd qtr | 10:10 . Easy call for Morelli on the review. No visual evidence that Foster stepped out.

Sun • 2:12 pm EDT • 

2nd Qtr | 10:10 Baltimore challenged that Arian Foster went out of bounds on a sideline run, but a couple of relays showed no clear evidence that any part of his foot stepped on white chalk. There was not enough to overturn the call on the field.

Sun • 2:00 pm EDT • 

2nd qtr | 11:46. First appearance of referee Pete Morelli on the false start penalty. Well-called game so far.

Sun • 1:32 pm EDT • 

1st Qtr | 8:13 Anquan Boldin made a sideline catch. One of the announcers said that he thought Boldin’s right foot came down out of bounds, but after he gained possession, his right toe tapped in bounds prior to coming down out of bounds. It’s a good catch.

Sun • 1:31 pm EDT • 

1st qtr | 11:25. Ravens Jimmy Smith recovered a muffed punt (misplayed catch on a punt) by the Texans. Smith fell on the ball, because he could not have advanced the recovered ball by rule. Therefore, rather than staying on his feet to score a touchdown (and potentially botching the recovery), Smith simply fell on the loose ball. Back judge Rob Vernatchi seemed to call the play dead after Smith was touched by a Texans player, but in actuality, it should have been declared dead upon recovery. Rulebook, 9-3-2, Item 1:

Legal Catch or Recovery. If the receiving team touches the ball beyond the line, a subsequent catch or recovery by the kicking team is legal, but the ball is dead. In the event of such a catch or recovery, it is first-and-10 for the kickers, or if the ball is caught or recovered by the kickers in the receiver’s end zone, it is a touchdown for the kickers.

Sun • 1:21 pm EDT • 

1st Qtr | 10:35 Flacco’s body seemed to go over the goal line on the second down play, but it’s possible the ball was tucked lower on his body. The point of the ball has to cross the front of the goal line, regardless of where the runner’s body is. It amazes me how the officials can see the ball in that mass of humanity. Even on the replay, it’s impossible to tell where the ball was.

  • R — #135 Pete Morelli (15th year, 9th as referee)
  • U — #71 Ruben Fowler (6th year)
  • HL — #26 Mark Baltz (23rd year)
  • LJ — #18 Byron Boston (17th year)*
  • FJ — #89 Jon Lucivansky (3rd year)
  • SJ — #95 James Coleman (7th year)*
  • BJ — #75 Rob Vernatchi (8th year)
  • Alternates — Paul King (#121, U from Terry McAuley’s crew), Barry Anderson (#20, FJ from Jeff Triplette’s crew).

*Boston and Coleman are from Walt Anderson’s crew

5 comments for “Live blog: Texans at Ravens

  1. JHarry
    January 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    There was an injury timeout for Ed Reed’s injury early in the game. Wasn’t he supposed to sit out the next play?

  2. dilly
    January 15, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    @JHarry, that would be true if it was just an official timeout. The Ravens then had the option to take a team timeout, which they did. In that case, he can return on the play after the team time out.

  3. Lou Loveland
    January 15, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    I have a question in regards to the Jacoby Muffed punt during todays game of the Texans vs. Ravens.

    After Jacoby Jones tried to catch the ball on the bounce, he muff the punt and then turns to run after the ball. One of the Ravens then tackles him from behind well after the ball is no longer touching Jacoby.

    Is it legal to tackle the returner that doesn’t have the ball but is trying to go after the ball. Seems like that should be some kind of holding?

    Anyboy have any insight?

  4. Ben Austro
    January 16, 2012 at 12:35 am

    The Ravens defender gets the benefit of the doubt because Jacoby can be perceived as a ball carrier if the defender does not see the ball. Adding to the perception is that there is no whistle, so the Ravens #29 can easily assume that the play is alive. From our perspective we see the loose ball, but between #29 and the ball is Jacoby Jones.

    The same benefit of the doubt is given to a defensive back who hits a receiver who dropped a pass. If the defensive back is screened, or the receiver starts to move up field before securing the catch, the receiver can be hit without penalty (assuming that there is no other aspect of the play considered unnecessary roughness).

  5. January 19, 2012 at 12:13 am

    In this game, the replay ref asked for a review on the spot of the ball in the 4th quarter under two minutes left. I really thought this was uncalled for as most spots of balls are arbitrary to begin with. Do you all think this was a bit excessive or completely called for? I don’t question the overturn….but I do question making the call to review to begin with.
    Also, in the history of the NFL review policies has this ever happened before? Has a replay official EVER asked for a review like this before? Is there a place to see a stat like this?
    Thanks for any reply you could help here.
    Ryan Parr

    Founder/CEO
    Fantazzle.com Fantasy Games