It looked for a moment like the Ravens had snatched a last-minute win over the Bengals on a long touchdown pass to Steve Smith, but any jubilation ended when officials found Smith guilty of offensive pass interference on the play.
Smith and Bengals safety George Iloka were vying for the ball and there’s definitely some struggling going on between the two players before Smith gets in a shove on the Bengal. Iloka went down with perhaps a little embellishment on his part and Smith drew the flag. Receivers have gotten away with much worse, but Smith didn’t put up much of an argument on the field after the call and wasn’t raging about it during a postgame interview with CSN Baltimore either.
“Trying to make a play. These new rules, obviously they always talk about offense and defense each man has a right for the ball. That’s what I tried to do, just go for the ball. I thought he was in the way,” Smith said.
A little later Smith added, via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, that he doesn’t like the “idea of a play like that determining the game” while adding that he’s neither mad nor upset. The pass interference call didn’t determine the outcome of the game, of course. Had the Ravens defense not allowed the Bengals to drive for a touchdown a few moments earlier, Baltimore would have been able to kneel on the ball and run out the clock.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he wasn’t “allowed” to answer a question about his feelings regarding the call, which suggests he didn’t think too highly of it since no one in the league office has ever issued a fine to a coach agreeing with a call.