At the end of regulation in Sunday’s Ravens-Steelers game, the officials gave Baltimore a break by spotting the ball five yards ahead of where it should have been after Ravens guard Ben Grubbs recovered a Joe Flacco fumble that rolled five yards forward.
Now Vice President of officiating Mike Pereira is saying his crew dodged a bullet when the Ravens missed the subsequent field goal.
“Seems simple, and certainly, we messed it up by not putting it back to
the spot of the fumble,” Pereira said on NFL Network’s Total Access. “And better to be lucky sometimes than good:
The field goal was short.”
The rule is fairly simple, and Pereira explained it: “Inside of two minutes, or on a fourth-down play, or on a try [point after touchdown], only the fumbling player can recover and keep the advance. Otherwise, any other player that recovers — any other teammate that recovers — it goes back to the spot of the fumble.”
In defense of his officials Pereira pointed out that the play happened while both teams were furiously trying to get the right personnel on the field for the field goal attempt.
“It was chaos,” Pereira said. “It was chaos to the nth degree. I understand why they missed it. It’s no excuse. So much happened on the play.”
Pereira said that referee Ed Hochuli should have thrown his bean bag when Flacco fumbled to mark the spot where the fumble occurred. And he also said that his officials hustled to get the special K-ball on the field for the field goal attempt, but that in the future he’d rather have his officials focusing on getting the spot right rather than getting a different ball on the field.
If such a situation happens again, Pereira said, “We’re forgetting the kicking ball. We’re gonna kick with what we’re playing with.”