The Bills were trying to run out the clock on their 23-20 victory over the Ravens late in the fourth quarter and quarterback E.J. Manuel took a snap and shuffled around for a few seconds before starting to take a knee.
As Manuel was kneeling, he was hit by Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs. Manuel lost his helmet and Suggs was flagged for unnecessary roughness, guaranteeing that the clock would run out before the Ravens got one last chance to pull off a miracle. Ravens coach John Harbaugh was upset about the call, saying after the game that referee Jerome Boger said that the helmet coming off influenced the decision to make a call that Harbaugh thought was poor.
“I think the quarterback is responsible for taking a knee there. He’s got to get his knee down,” Harbaugh said, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. “He should do it more quickly and not burn more time off the clock. That is something we hear from the league all the time. His knee was not on the ground. I’m just disappointed that Terrell wasn’t able to cause a fumble there. He definitely did the right thing in that situation.”
Manuel was giving himself up, but he wasn’t down at the point of contact and he didn’t go down immediately after taking a snap. Under those circumstances, it’s hard to know why Suggs shouldn’t have been trying to force a turnover using the necessary amount of roughness. A league source tells PFT, however, that the league believes that Boger made the right call.