AFC Divisional Playoff
We will be live blogging the calls and rules interpretations from the Ravens-Broncos game. (If you see continue reading below, click it to see the entire feed.)
If you have any questions or comments, use the comments section of this post, or tweet us @footballzebras.
Today’s crew is headed by Bill Vinovich. The full crew list is at the bottom of this post.
Final/2OT, Ravens 38-35
Length of game — 76 minutes, 42 seconds. Fourth longest game in NFL history. Duration of game 4 hours, 11 minutes.
Penalties — Ravens: 8 for 58 yards (plus one declined). Broncos: 10 for 87 yards. Replay reviews — 1 challenge by the Ravens, 3 challenges by replay official:
- Ravens challenge of a Broncos first-down ruling was upheld (inconclusive evidence to overturn).
- A replay official challenge of a Broncos fumble was upheld (inconclusive evidence of tuck rule).
- In overtime, booth challenges of a Ravens completion and a Broncos completion were confirmed.
Double overtime games, NFL history
Listed by length of overtime period.
- 22:40—Miami Dolphins 27, Kansas City Chiefs 24, Dec. 25, 1971 (AFC Divisional Playoffs).
- 17:54—Dallas Texans 20, Houston Oilers 17, Dec. 23, 1962 (AFL Championship).
- 17:02—Cleveland Browns 23, New York Jets 20, Jan. 3, 1987 (AFC Divisional Playoffs).
- 16:42—Baltimore Ravens 38, Denver Broncos 35, Jan. 12, 2013 (AFC Divisional Playoffs).
- 15:43—Oakland Raiders 37, Baltimore Colts 31, Dec. 24, 1977 (AFC Divisional Playoffs).
- 15:10—Carolina Panthers 29, St. Louis Rams 23, Jan. 10, 2004 (NFC Divisional Playoffs).
(Note: The Dallas Texans are currently the Kansas City Chiefs, the Houston Oilers are currently the Tennessee Titans, and the Baltimore Colts are now in Indianapolis.)
FYI, the longest game ever played was the 1971 AFC divisional playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins on December 25, 1971, at 82-minutes and 40 seconds.
End of regulation, tied 35-35.
End of 3rd Quarter
3rd Qtr | 2:55. A sack on Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was a forced-fumble recovery for the Ravens. The replay official challenged the ruling, because it looked like the Tuck Rule was in effect. If Manning, after initiating a passing motion, did not tuck the ball back to his body, the dropped ball would be ruled incomplete pass.
Vinovich reviewed the play and said the play “stands.” Because Manning appeared to pull the ball in to his leg, Vinovich felt there was not enough evidence to overturn the fumble. However, he did not definitively rule that a Manning had completed the tuck under the tuck rule. Therefore, the call of a fumble recovery by the Ravens was allowed to stand.
3rd Qtr | 11:26. A bizarre exchange on a fumble by Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. Two illegal-hands-to-the-face fouls were called (one should not have been called). There was confusion because of the two fouls being the same on different players. Then, the enforcement around the fumble involved an unusual enforcement spot.
Usually, the foul is from the previous spot. Because there was a fumble, the fumbling team does not gain an advantage by going back to the previous spot if it is a more advantageous spot. In this case, it goes to the spot of the fumble, but all penalties against the defense, no matter where their enforcement points are, must get the ball back to the line of scrimmage. A defensive foul does not net a loss for the offense.
Further, it looked like the fumble should not have been ruled, because Manning’s knee appeared to be down at the time he lost the ball. It was just an ugly play, exacerbated by a clumsy enforcement. To be fair, any double-foul-with-a-change-of-possession play is not easy, but they did not inspire confidence in their call.
3rd Qtr. | 11:52. Good pass interference call on Ray Lewis. He grabbed and turned the receiver.
Halftime, tied 21-21
Penalties — Ravens: 2 for 20 yards. Broncos: 4 for 45 yards. Replay — A Baltimore challenge of a first-down spot stands with no indisputable evidence.
2nd qtr | 2:00. On a 4th-and-1, a run up the middle for the Broncos was spotted near the first-down line. Vinovich immediately signaled first down, as the clock ran down to the two-minute warning. During the commercial, Vinovich decided to call for a measurement, which was about ½-football-length beyond the first down.
Ravens coach Jim Harbuagh called challenged the spot, but the call was upheld as “stands”. Because the definitive spot of the ball cannot be indisputably determined when the ball enters the pile, there was no new spot that Vinovich could rule in replay. The Ravens lost the challenge.
Head linesman George Hayward uses a plastic whistle with a pea inside. That pea has frozen. The whistle will thaw at halftime but right now his whistle is emitting a weak squeak!
2nd Qtr | 14:40. The Ravens were flagged for a facemask foul when there was no pulling of the facemask. The defender, Dannelle Ellbere, had a finger stuck on the facemask of Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno. But there was no grasp and twist of the facemask, so no foul should have been called.
On the Ravens’ pick-6 it looks like, in slow motion, that the defender got to the receiver prior to the ball. In real speed, it is nearly simultaneous. If it is that close, where there is only a split-second difference between the arrival of the defender and arrival of the ball, then no pass interference gets called.
You can read about referee Bill Vinovich and his inspiring come back to the NFL after a life-threatening illness.
End of 1st Quarter, tied 14-14
Vinovich is in his first season back on the field from medical leave he took in 2006. He is in his 7th year and 4th as referee. This is his 4th postseason assignment, including 1 Wild Card Playoff, 2 Divisional Playoffs, and 1 Conference Championship.
1st Qtr. | 4:02. Outstanding touchdown call by side judge Ron Torbert. Torbert was a Big 10 collegiate referee and I fully expect him to be appointed as a NFL referee very soon.
1st Qtr. | Circa 5:00. Umpire Undrey Wash comes out of the backfield to rule a pass incomplete in the flat. He had the best view of it and wasn’t afraid to come from the backfield to wave it off.
1st Qtr | 11:20. Good DPI flag call against Denver. As Vinovoch stated, the Ravens’ receiver was cut off of his route.
|R||52||Bill Vinovich||7||San Diego||certified public accountant, former NFL supervisor of officials|
|U||96||Undrey Wash||13||Cheffers||Texas-Arlington||claims controller|
|HL||54||George Hayward||22||Leavy||Missouri Western||vice-president and manager, warehouse company|
|LJ||107||Ron Marinucci||16||Blakeman||Glassboro State||vice president, novelty cone company|
|FJ||25||Bob Waggoner||16||Steratore||Juniata College||probation officer|
|SJ||62||Ronald Torbert||3||Parry||Michigan State||attorney|
|BJ||2||Billy Smith||19||Anderson||East Carolina||retired federal government|
- Alternates: Jeff Rice (upfield), Phil McKinnely (line), Lee Dyer (deep)
- Replay official: Tom Sifferman
- Replay assistant: Roger Ruth
- Supervisor: Gary Slaughter
- Observer: Duke Carroll