While the Broncos likely would have still found a way to power past the Ravens in the second half of Thursday night’s season opener, the path to the home team’s first lead was greased by a bad call that Baltimore opted not to try to reverse.
Facing third and nine play on the third play of the second half, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning threw a pass to receiver Wes Welker that seemed to hit the ground. Replays televised by NBC showed that the ball did indeed hit the ground, prompting Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth to wonder aloud whether the Ravens would exercise their right to challenge the first-down conversion.
They didn’t. The Broncos scored a touchdown three plays later.
After the game, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said his team didn’t see the replay.
“It’d be nice if NBC would show that and get a chance to look at it. We never saw that,” Harbaugh said, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com.
But a replay was available, and it was broadcast.
That’s different from a situation that unfolded nearly two years ago, when NBC producer Fred Gaudelli checked out of curiosity an obscure angle after the challenge window and had closed, preventing the Eagles from throwing the red flag.
In this case, the replay was shown in real time. While it doesn’t mean the Ravens definitely saw it, it also doesn’t mean the replay wasn’t shown.