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NFL avoids major controversy in Ravens-Steelers game

The Ravens-Steelers game has gone to overtime, but the officials nearly robbed the Steelers of another chance for victory.

With under 25 seconds to go in a 17-17 game, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was sacked and fumbled the ball at the Steelers 42-yard line.  Guard Ben Grubbs recovered the ball at the 37-yard line, where Billy Cundiff lined up to attempt a game winning 56-yard field goal.

The kick came up just short, but it shouldn’t have been that close.  As pointed out by NBC’s Al Michaels, NFL rules state that “only the fumbling player is permitted to recover and/or advance the ball. If recovered by any other offensive player, the ball is dead at the spot of the fumble unless it is recovered behind the spot of the fumble.” 

The ball should have been spotted at the 42-yard line. 

Somewhere, NFL VP of Officiating Mike Pereira is not happy.  (And Ed Hochuli is doing extra push ups as penance for his mistake.)

But Pereira should be happy Cundiff doesn’t have a bigger leg or the entire AFC playoff race could have been marred by controversy for the rest of the season.

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40 Responses to “NFL avoids major controversy in Ravens-Steelers game”
  1. DTHOMAS58HOF says: Nov 29, 2009 11:48 PM

    Exactly the refs are a disaster this year!!!

  2. Nick says: Nov 29, 2009 11:49 PM

    I like how that would be a major controversy, but the multiple times, including this game, when the official’s bad call took points of the board for the Ravens, is just a regular deal.
    Huge props to the Steelers and Dennis Dixon. I’ve always said that a decent (not great) pocket passer who can get the ball out quick could make the Steelers just as successful as Ben, just in a different way/style.

  3. WhySoSerious says: Nov 29, 2009 11:50 PM

    If they had challenged the spot, Cundiff wouldve had more time to set up, and probably wouldve made it anyway.

  4. se18a29 says: Nov 29, 2009 11:50 PM

    Doesn’t matter. The Steelgirls suck. hahahahaha!

  5. Laxer37 says: Nov 29, 2009 11:50 PM

    This should put to bed all of the crying that the league gives the Steelers all of the calls.

  6. The Notorious V.I.C. says: Nov 29, 2009 11:52 PM

    Meh, who cares about the actual game on the field? Who cares if NFL officials consistently screw up important calls?
    What matters is that Roger Goodell is out there promoting the “NFL brand” and locking up exclusive deals with Tucks medicated pads so they can be the “Official Hemorrhoids-soothing provider of the NFL.” Gotta get every last dollar that might be floating around out there.

  7. JohnnyH says: Nov 29, 2009 11:53 PM

    Mike Pereira has his hands full this year. There have been missed / questionable call controversies every week now.

  8. ppdoc13 says: Nov 29, 2009 11:54 PM

    Now we will await the excuses. We didn’t have our QB. Our RG was out of the game. Come on Frank Burns, where are you.
    For all of you Steelers fans that I do respect, and there are many, that was one of the best games our two teams have played. Hard hitting. Tough defense. Big plays. I was waiting for Dixon to make a mistake. Thankfully it came for us at the end of the game. Good game Yins, see you in Steeltown in a couple of weeks.
    To Frank Burns and the poor sport fans of the Steelers who call themselves football fans—- Screw you. When you start manning up and acting gracious as a winner and a loser we can talk again. Especially to Frank who I am sure is hiding under his mommy’s skirt right now….. Come and talk some trash.

  9. AugustusMcCrae says: Nov 29, 2009 11:54 PM

    Wouldn’t have wanted to win that way.
    The Steelers hard to beat even without Ben or Troy?
    Imagine that. What a game.

  10. wyoff says: Nov 29, 2009 11:54 PM

    “Laxer37
    This should put to bed all of the crying that the league gives the Steelers all of the calls.”
    Yeah, it’s funny how silent the “Refs cheat for the Steelers” crowd are when the Steelers go on a losing streak.

  11. Red says: Nov 29, 2009 11:55 PM

    So that’s Ed Hochuli’s second biggest screwup, then.

  12. McBomb says: Nov 29, 2009 11:56 PM

    I’m fairly confident that you are dead wrong.
    They got the call on the field right.
    That fumble WAS NOT advanced. It was simply recovered by the Ravens. The fact that it was fumbled forward means NOTHING.
    Advancing a forward fumble would mean one of the Ravens picked up that ball and started running with it. You’re probably going to want to take this post down since you don’t know what you’re talking about… but whatever. I hope my post goes through.

  13. florio4prez says: Nov 29, 2009 11:57 PM

    But there’s no controversy about Mike Tomlin. The guy continues to amaze week after week with his utter stoopidity. It’s hard to believe a team he coached won a Super Bowl.
    Cases in point tonight:
    (1) How can you possibly give the ball back to the Ravens in regulation with that much time still on the clock? More so, how can you give it back to them at all? Not a problem for Mike. He’s an artist at that kind of stuff.
    (2) How can you allow Dixon to throw over the middle into the teeth of the Ravens defense in OT? Not a problem for Mike. He’s also an artist at that kind of stuff.
    This just in – Mike Tomlin is a fraud. Maybe when he’s done with his coaching caper, he can get job pretending to be an NFL ref. There’s a real market for that kind of gig these days.

  14. Rickah99 says: Nov 29, 2009 11:58 PM

    @ se18a29,
    I see comprehension is not one of your strong suits(if you have any).
    6 Superbowls!
    Pretty good there Skippy…why don’t ya spend more of your useless time making up creative names like: “Steelgirls”.
    Just curious when you go out in public(I pity those around you) do you hear people calling you “that guy” often?
    Word of advice: Don’t be That Guy!

  15. ppdoc13 says: Nov 30, 2009 12:02 AM

    @Laxer37 – how about the obvious pass interference on Ike Taylor on Derrick Mason in the endzone. Yes that was a great no call huh?
    Bottom line – it was a great game. I would have said the same thing if the Ravens lost, but it would have be said unhappily.
    Ravens vs Steelers is the best rivalry in the NFL. Bar none.

  16. Nick says: Nov 30, 2009 12:08 AM

    Hey, nobody is silent about the refs. That was blatant PI on PIT in the endzone and they didn’t call it, which helped PIT in a big way.
    But, I just think the officials are horribly inconsistent and play too much into reputations (like they look for more PI penalties against tough teams, and look for more roughing-the-QB with the Manning/Brady types).
    I don’t think it’s about favoring a team, well, with the exception of the official from Pittsburgh who made those 3 bogus penalty calls in the Seahawks SB.

  17. Chris says: Nov 30, 2009 12:09 AM

    I totally disagree with your post.
    While I agree that the officials got the placement of the football on the field wrong, there is nothing that would have prevented them from reviewing it after the kick, had Cundiff made it.
    Replay officials will not review the previous play on the field in the final seconds of a game because it has to first be determined that the offensive team can even get a snap off. Had Baltimore not been able to set up their FG unit in time and kick the ball, this would have been a non-issue. Additionally, had Cundiff made it, the booth could have then reviewed the placement from before the kick and determined that it was wrong. They would have respotted the ball and given them an untimed down.
    Simple as that.

  18. frank booth says: Nov 30, 2009 12:09 AM

    Wrong, McBomb.
    The ball is dead at the spot of the fumble, or behind it, unless recovered by the fumbling player. Flacco fumbled at the 42. Grubbs recovered on the 37. Ball goes back to the 42. It’s that simple.

  19. notlisteninganymore says: Nov 30, 2009 12:11 AM

    Nice game by the Ravens..expected you to win by more but it was a hard fought battle that you earned in the end.
    @ppdoc13 – you are typical rat birds d-bag fan. All we would hear from you if the Ravens had lost is your typical whining about “how the refs give the Steelers the game” or some other such crap you a-holes pull out all of the time.
    The Steelers played with the team they had and gave it a go. See you in a few weeks.

  20. Laxer37 says: Nov 30, 2009 12:11 AM

    McBomb says:
    I’m fairly confident that you are dead wrong.
    They got the call on the field right.
    That fumble WAS NOT advanced. It was simply recovered by the Ravens. The fact that it was fumbled forward means NOTHING.
    Advancing a forward fumble would mean one of the Ravens picked up that ball and started running with it. You’re probably going to want to take this post down since you don’t know what you’re talking about… but whatever. I hope my post goes through.
    ————————————————-
    Uh, no. The rule clearly states that inside two minutes the player who fumbled the ball forward MUST be the player who recovers it or it returns to the point where it was fumbled. It’s been a rule for about 30 years so I can see why you missed it. Thanks for playing.

  21. notlisteninganymore says: Nov 30, 2009 12:14 AM

    @ nick – jealous much. Here we go with the Seahawks crap again.
    You are an absolute piece of crap. Stop your constant whining you scabby crab.

  22. cunn9305 says: Nov 30, 2009 12:17 AM

    It’s the Dave Casper Holy Roller rule … unless Flacco is the guy who recovers the ball is dead at the spot of the fumble. No exceptions. Michaels and Collingsworthless confirmed it.

  23. Gautam says: Nov 30, 2009 12:28 AM

    no wonder Mike Pereira is retiring

  24. Vox's Mommy says: Nov 30, 2009 12:32 AM

    ppdoc….
    wow dude. Looks like you’re letting one fan get under your skin. I can’t speak for all of Steeler nation, but as much as I hate the Ravens I always give them respect when it’s due. I know it’s a heated rivalry, but show some love bro. I’m not making any excuses tonight. It was a close game down to the wire. There’s a reason this game was scheduled for prime time. And withouth Ben, Troy, and Suggs the Steelers and Raves still delivered. The best rivalry in the NFL bar none. We did have a few key players out, that was obvious. You had Suggs out as well. Dixon played well given his situation. We really couldn’t have asked more from the guy. This was a fun game to watch, but it didn’t go the Steeler Nations’ way tonight. There’s still 5 weeks left, and the Ravens gotta come to the Burgh yet. It will make for an interesting playoff run for both teams. Our teams are so much the same, and yes….we do hate eachother, it’s just a shame that the fans can’t give the other team credit where it’s due. And that goes to both Ravens and Steeler fans. Be glad that the game was a boring snooze fest like the Bungles vs. Brownies game. I couldn’t even watch it. Talk about boring….

  25. ppdoc13 says: Nov 30, 2009 12:33 AM

    @notlistening – i know you have trouble reading. it isn’t taught where you majored. I have no problem giving props to teams that beat mine. I brought up the phantom pass interference because of a comment from a Squealers fan about the officiating.
    This was another typical snot knocker football game between my Ravens and your Steelers. It is the best rivalry in the NFL. And if by chance we had lost this game, I would have been on line just as fast offering the Squealers congratulations. So obviously I will place you in the later group I discussed. You go in the pool with Frank Burns and the people who are not only bad losers but bad winners as well.
    In any case, we lost 3 in a row last year. Now the streak is over. We have beaten you 5/7 in our home court. Those are pretty good numbers against what I consider to be one of the consistently best teams in the NFL as much as I hate to say it, because in general I find the Steeler fans to be miscreants.
    See you in a couple of weeks. If we lose, I’ll be there giving you props. If we win…. Will you do the same???

  26. Adam-Chris Scheftersen says: Nov 30, 2009 12:36 AM

    “NFL avoids major controversy in Ravens-Steelers game”
    “PFT still tries to make controversy out of it”

  27. IHATECRYBABYFANS says: Nov 30, 2009 12:50 AM

    Enough with all the remarks about the Steelers getting all the calls; because they do not. It is time though for everyone to stop talking about Bruce Arians bad play calling and start talking about Dickie Laboo”s defense. Another drive at the end of the half/game giving up points to tie the game. Let’s make a play; DEFENSE.

  28. Frank Burns says: Nov 30, 2009 1:10 AM

    ppdoc13 says:
    November 29, 2009 11:54 PM
    Now we will await the excuses. We didn’t have our QB. Our RG was out of the game. Come on Frank Burns, where are you.
    For all of you Steelers fans that I do respect, and there are many, that was one of the best games our two teams have played. Hard hitting. Tough defense. Big plays. I was waiting for Dixon to make a mistake. Thankfully it came for us at the end of the game. Good game Yins, see you in Steeltown in a couple of weeks.
    To Frank Burns and the poor sport fans of the Steelers who call themselves football fans—- Screw you. When you start manning up and acting gracious as a winner and a loser we can talk again. Especially to Frank who I am sure is hiding under his mommy’s skirt right now….. Come and talk some trash.
    ————————————————————–
    To ppdoc (who eats cock) — sorry, not a Ravens player or fan, so I don’t make excuses, blame the refs or the rules, or most of all, blame playing in the other guy’s stadium at night for the loss.
    I do, however, enjoy how you lecture others for being poor winners, while posting what you just did above. You definitely win the “winning fan who’s the biggest dick” award. Yeah, ppdoc, you really are a gracious winner, aren’t ya? Lots of class you just showed, bud.
    I congratulate the Ravens on their whining to the league to have this game played at night in Baltimore — your schoolgirl-whining plan proved masterful! Proves that the ONLY reason the Ravens ever lost was because they had to play in Pittsburgh at night. Wow, if only they had known it was so obvious, they could have cried to the league to have ALL their home games played at night.

  29. Frank Burns says: Nov 30, 2009 1:21 AM

    Nick says:
    November 30, 2009 12:08 AM
    Hey, nobody is silent about the refs. That was blatant PI on PIT in the endzone and they didn’t call it, which helped PIT in a big way.
    But, I just think the officials are horribly inconsistent and play too much into reputations (like they look for more PI penalties against tough teams, and look for more roughing-the-QB with the Manning/Brady types).
    I don’t think it’s about favoring a team, well, with the exception of the official from Pittsburgh who made those 3 bogus penalty calls in the Seahawks SB.
    —————————————————————–
    1. The replay showed D. Jackson of Seattle pushed off.
    2. The replay showed S. Locklear of Seattle did hold.
    3. The only other “bogus” penalty call I can think of was the non-call that Seattle got away with on their pick return, when Ben was pushed in the back.
    Please shut up now.
    And by the way, nice way to keep whining about the cheap shot you got called for going for Brady’s leg earlier this year.

  30. Dr. Hannibal Lector says: Nov 30, 2009 1:49 AM

    What was the exact line or scrimmage, and where was it recovered? Did the ball stay in the backfield the whole time?
    I thought the advancing fumble rule is moot because it did not advance down the field past the line of scrimmage, so technically it is therefore not an advance. I thought the tv crew had it wrong.
    Of course, I could be wrong but thats what I thought happened, and what the rule is. Maybe not.

  31. RaidersSuckBallz says: Nov 30, 2009 2:21 AM

    Hey McBomb,
    Make sure you know what you are talking about before you spout off, D-Bag.
    From the NFL rule book:
    If any player fumbles after the two-minute warning in a half, only the fumbling player is permitted to recover and/or advance the ball. If recovered by any other offensive player, the ball is dead at the spot of the fumble unless it is recovered behind the spot of the fumble. In that case, the ball is dead at the spot of recovery. Any defensive player may recover and/or advance any fumble at any time.
    Suck it, Trebek

  32. EdgarSnyder says: Nov 30, 2009 3:15 AM

    McDumbass says:
    November 29, 2009 11:56 PM
    I’m fairly confident that you are dead wrong.
    They got the call on the field right.
    That fumble WAS NOT advanced. It was simply recovered by the Ravens. The fact that it was fumbled forward means NOTHING.
    Advancing a forward fumble would mean one of the Ravens picked up that ball and started running with it. You’re probably going to want to take this post down since you don’t know what you’re talking about… but whatever. I hope my post goes through.
    [np voice] idiot!
    refs are horrible this year!

  33. tatum32 says: Nov 30, 2009 4:00 AM

    They cant have the refs give them calls all the time.
    Sometimes the refs even screw the Ste

  34. Beer Cheese Soup says: Nov 30, 2009 7:38 AM

    If it didn’t affect the end result of the game (like 64% of the country says the calls in SB 40 did), it’s irrelevant.
    Steeler fans are just looking for any opportunity they can get to make people think the refs make bad calls against them too.
    Maybe they wouldn’t feel a need to constantly defend themselves if they didn’t ALSO know, deep down, that their last two championships were tainted. It’s an unfortunate situation for everyone.

  35. hotchick says: Nov 30, 2009 7:58 AM

    The fumble rule is it goes back to the spot of the fumble inside two minutes.
    Why only inside 2 minutes? I know a player may fumble intentionally in desparation as a game is ending. But he could also find reason to at other points of the game.
    Why not be consistent and treat every fumble like a lateral? The recovering offense player must be behind the spot of the fumble in order for the ball to be moved forward.
    In essense the fumbling team cannot bebefit from the fumble at any point int he game.

  36. John Cittebart says: Nov 30, 2009 8:06 AM

    HA!
    Mr. Pereira should have been unhappy weeks ago, instead of supporting several bad calls since then.
    Hey Mr. Pereira, there have been a rash of no-calls that are bad calls. What about them?
    So, I still don’t understand his current aboutface.
    My take is that his unhappiness with the officiating has something to do with his domestic life.

  37. RockPile says: Nov 30, 2009 9:24 AM

    Take it from an official and instructor (not NFL) — Hochuli and crew are in trouble no matter the result of the play. Yes, it would have been a nightmare for Mike Pereira had Cundiff connected but it will still be a nightmare for Hochuli.
    All arm chair referees disagree on most every play whether there was or wasn’t holding, if it was minor or major, whether the ball came out before the knee hit the ground, whether both feet were in bounds, etc. These are judgment calls and are subjective.
    However, Hochuli & Co. misapplied a rule. This is an objective decision and is a major screw up.
    Heck, on replay, half the time the booth announcers cannot agree on what visual evidence is when there is a challenge or booth review. We don’t expect that 100% of observers can agree on subjective calls all the time. But all sports demand that their officials apply the rules correctly 100% of the time.
    Not sure how this affects the overall grading of this referee but doubtful we see him on the field in Miami on February 7.

  38. elduderino13 says: Nov 30, 2009 9:55 AM

    Off topic, but since you want to specialize in “what could have happened,” I’ll harken back to your screed last week about how unfair the NFL overtime rule is: the Ravens won this game in OT because their defense *made a play*.
    I don’t expect any of the OT whiners to mention this, because it disproves their point about how unfair sudden death OT is.

  39. notlisteninganymore says: Nov 30, 2009 11:54 AM

    @ppdoc
    Yes, you are a wonderful reader. I did give the Ravens credit for a great game. They deserved to win. Perhaps, you should try reading my comments again.
    You are a pompous obnoxious a@# who clearly likes the view of his onw reflection.

  40. steelersmichele says: Nov 30, 2009 2:12 PM

    No more blaming the refs. I hate when people do that. Blame the receivers who dropped passes. Blame linemen for missing tackles. Blame corners for getting beat. But don’t take the easy way out and blame the refs. One or two “bad” calls by the refs does not overshadow the countless mistakes made by players on the field. If you count the number of missed blocks in any game, they outnumber one or two questionable calls by the refs. Blaming the refs means you don’t have the smarts to look at your own players and realize they make mistakes that cost the team.
    As for last nights game, I’m happy with the results. Sure, I wanted a win…but it was much better than I thought it was going to be. I was surprised it went into overtime. I don’t think anyone expected the game to be that close with Dixon playing.
    I also won’t make any excuses for injuries. That’s football. Players get hurt and backups have to step up.
    Ravens fans–you have a right to be happy with the W. You played hard and won. I’m giving you props. Some of you fans need to shush and quit running your mouth. You won, but you haven’t won the SB so don’t put the cart in front of the horse just yet.
    Steelers fans–we lost. Doesn’t matter who was or wasn’t playing. We have to take pride in the fact that Dixon looks good and that we still have one more game agaisnt the Ravens in Pittsburgh.
    And this should put to rest the refs giving us the game. Quit making comments about it Ravens fans. If that was the case, we would have won last night.

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