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Live blog: Colts at Ravens writers Ben Austro and Mark Schultz analyze the officiating for the AFC Wild Card game.



Wildcard_10AFC Wild Card

We will be live blogging the calls and rules interpretations from the Colts-Ravens 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 Mike Carey. The full crew list is at the bottom of this post.

Mon • 1:01 am EDT • Ben Austro


After analyzing the intentional grounding call after the game, I noticed that initially the ball was spotted incorrectly. It had to be corrected with intervention of the game supervisor, much like what we saw in the replacement referee era.

Mike Carey (94) and LJ Tim Podraza are speaking to alternate referee John Parry (headset). Parry is in communication with the game supervisor and observer.

I had noted during the initial delay that an intentional grounding foul is a spot foul if it happens more than 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage. In other words, since the quarterback is evading the sack, the team is penalized at least that distance they would have lost.

I figured that was accounted for, since head linesman Dana McKenzie was seen gesturing to a point, and then pointing backwards, as if to indicate a greater loss of yardage. This was during the lengthy (but necessary) discussion with Colts head coach Chuck Pagano on the 10-second runoff.

When the teams lined up, the Ravens took a timeout, with the ball spotted at the Colts 48 yard line (9 yards from the previous spot). During the timeout, Carey spoke with alternate referee John Parry, who is wearing a headset, communicating with game supervisor Johnny Grier and observer Phil Luckett. After the timeout, Carey announced the correct spot on the foul was the 41-yard line, and the ball was moved back.

We railed on this when it happened in the replacement era, so it is only fair to point it out in the playoffs. While the Ravens saved this crew’s bacon on the timeout, the Colts nearly were able to gain seven yards from the officials.


Sun • 4:29 pm EDT • Mark Schultz


This was an incredibly intense game today – such a contrast from yesterday’s games.  Carey and crew had several tough, bang-bang calls today and I think they got most, if not all, of them correct.  Carey’s crew can be proud of their efforts.


Sun • 4:15 pm EDT • Ben Austro


4th Qtr | 6:54. Colts challenged an incomplete pass ruling where receiver did not complete the process of the catch. Because the receiver must maintain control through to the ground, the fact that the ball popped out a split second after touching the ground does not constitute possession. Even though the defender poked the ball, it is incomplete by rule.

This is specifically the type of play that spawns the “process of the catch” rule. In this case, the receiver did not have the ball for any appreciable amount of time, so it would be a cheap fumble if the Ravens were to recover the loose ball.


Sun • 4:09 pm EDT • Ben Austro


It was a correct call by the rule, as the helmets collided, but the defender did seem to avoid the contact. Could make a case that the receiver’s head contacted the defender.


Sun • 4:05 pm EDT • Mark Schultz


4th Qtr | 3:39.  Ravens called for personal foul for hitting a “defenseless player.”  Earlier this week Mike Pereira tried to provide come clarity to this rule.


Sun • 3:49 pm EDT • Ben Austro

4th Qtr | 9:22. 2nd-and-10 from the Colts 18. Anquan Boldin 18-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco. Ravens 24-9.

Sun • 3:37 pm EDT • Ben Austro

4th Qtr | 11:49. 4th-and-9 from the Ravens 22. Adam Vinatieri misses 40-yard field goal attempt, wide right. Ravens 17-9.

Sun • 3:35 pm EDT • Ben Austro


End of 3rd Quarter


Sun • 3:34 pm EDT • Ben Austro

3rd Qtr | :44. 4th-and-4 from the Ravens 8. Adam Vinatieri 26-yard field goal.Ravens 17-9.

Sun • 3:13 pm EDT • Ben Austro

3rd Qtr | 8:33. 2nd-and-15 from the Colts 20. Dennis Pita 20 yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco. Ravens 17-6.

Sun • 2:59 pm EDT • Ben Austro



Penalties — Colts: 2 for 22 yards, Ravens: 3 for 15. Replay — no reviews.


Sun • 2:54 pm EDT • Ben Austro

2nd Qtr | :00. Colts 4th-and-1 at the Ravens 34. Adam Vinatieri 52-yard field goal.Ravens 10-6.

Sun • 2:44 pm EDT • Ben Austro


2nd Qtr | :29. Andrew Luck throws an incomplete pass. Here is the process of the call:

  • Carey has to determine if Luck was out of the pocket and throws the ball to avoid the sack.
  • Carey has to confirm with the head linesman that the ball did not get to the line of scrimmage and that there was no receiver in the vicinity.
  • The ball was tipped, so they have to determine if that materially affected the flight of the ball towards the line of scrimmage.
  • Carey flags for intentional grounding.
  • Carey has to determine the spot of the pass. Since it was more than 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage, the penalty is a spot foul, not 10 yards.
  • Because it was a foul that conserved time under 1 minute to play, it involves a 10-second runoff.
  • The Ravens are given the option to decline the 10-second runoff. They accept the runoff.
  • The Colts are given the option to counter the 10-second runoff by surrendering a timeout. They decline the option.
  • Carey has to announce this mess. A correct call all around by the crew.

Sun • 2:24 pm EDT • Ben Austro

2nd Qtr | :55. Ravens 1st-and-goal at the 2. Vonta Leach 2-yard touchdown run.Ravens 10-3.

Sun • 2:11 pm EDT • Ben Austro

2nd Qtr | 2:31. Colts 4th-and-7 at the Ravens 29. Adam Vinatieri 47-yard field goal.Tied 3-3.

Sun • 2:06 pm EDT • Ben Austro


2nd Qtr |8:19. Ravens special teamer David Reed downed a punt at the 2 yard line. There was a penalty for illegal touching, as Reed stepped out of bounds and was the first to touch the ball. When that penalty occurs inside the 5 yard line, a touchback is awarded.


Sun • 1:50 pm EDT • Ben Austro

2nd Qtr | 11:23. Ravens 4th-and-goal at the 5. Justin Tucker 23-yard field goal.Ravens 3-0.

Sun • 1:41 pm EDT • Ben Austro


End of 1st Quarter


Sun • 1:26 pm EDT • Mark Schultz


That fumble play is where having the umpire in the backfield hurts.  IF the umpire were in his traditional position behind the defensive line, he could have had a great look at the fumble and scrum.


Sun • 1:19 pm EDT • Mark Schultz


Blogged too soon.  Looks like the Colt player didn’t have complete possession. 


Sun • 1:17 pm EDT • Mark Schultz

1st Qtr | 9:55.  Nice job by the officials to quickly rule Colts possession on the Ravens’ fumble.  Many times the fumbling team tries to steal the ball and trick the officials.  Carey’s crew was quick and decisive.


Sun • 1:15 pm EDT • Ben Austro

      Yr. Crew College Occupation
R 94 Mike Carey 23   Santa Clara owner, skiing accessories
U 49 Rich Hall 9 Hochuli Arizona custom cabinetry
HL 8 Dana McKenzie 5 Morelli Toledo claims adjuster
LJ 47 Tim Podraza 5 Carey Nebraska banker
FJ 63 Jim Quirk 3 Leavy Middlebury financial advisor
SJ 125 Laird Hayes 18 Cheffers Princeton professor, physical education & athletics
BJ 6 Kirk Dornan 19 Carey Central Washington purchasing manager

SJ Laird Hayes worked in the Super Bowl last season, and had the call of the year.


Sun • 1:12 pm EDT • Ben Austro


Mike Carey is in his 23rd year and 17th as referee. This is his 18th postseason assignment (10 Wild Card Playoffs, 5 Divisional Playoffs, 2 Conference Championships, and Super Bowl XLII).

Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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