Still in a salty mood after a crushing one-point loss, some key members of the Baltimore Ravens voiced their displeasure about the questionable officiating in their 24-23 last-minute defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles.
After a pretty quiet week 1, the replacement refs were very noticeable in this game, as they were around the league in week 2.
Joe Flacco openly opined about a very questionable offensive pass interference call on Jacoby Jones. The call on Jones negated a huge touchdown that would’ve given the Ravens a 27-17 lead with 5:29 left in the fourth quarter. Instead the Ravens had to settle for a field goal, setting up Michael Vick‘s go-ahead touchdown with 1:55 left in the fourth quarter.
On the Ravens’ second drive of the second half, the Eagles got away with an obvious defensive holding that stalled a Ravens’ drive, which resulted in a punt and three points against them on the following drive. The Eagles’ secondary appeared to be draped all over Baltimore receivers and tight ends all game, as the refs allowed the line for incidental contact to be blurred. It seems the refs don’t know what constitutes pass interference or illegal contact, and this led to blown calls and the chippiness of the game escalated as the refs started to lose control of the game. Ray Lewis touched upon just that in his post-game interview.
“There are some serious calls the refs missed,” Lewis said. “That’s just the way it is around the league. For our league to be what it is, we have to correct that. There are calls that if the regular refs were here, we know the right calls would be made.”
Flacco was also critical in his post-game presser.
“The NFL and everyone always talks about the integrity of the game and things like that, and I think this is right along those line,” Flacco said. “Not to say these guys are doing a bad job, but the fact we don’t have the normal guys out there is a little crazy.”
You can hear the growing disdain for the “scab” refs, as the players are starting to lose all respect for these replacement refs. This means players are taking more liberties, which is making the game more dangerous. If these refs habitually have problems with simple tasks like spotting the ball after penalties, and in general, have long discussions about calls that are normally routine, the players see that and lose more respect for the scabs.
This loss of respect for the refs is bleeding into players losing respect for one another. Players are taking liberties on each other, which is leading to dangerous and illegal hits being delivered, especially to the head. Scrums are breaking out at a higher pace as the refs losing control of the games is making the players push the envelope. There were multiple scrums that broke out in the Ravens-Eagles game, as DeSean Jackson and Cary Williams exchanged a few benign punches at one point.
With the striking, regular refs out until at least week 5, let’s hope no more games are left with a “what-if” feeling after a team feels cheated after a loss, like the Ravens. More importantly though, let’s hope that no player is seriously injured as these replacement refs continue to lose control of games.