If you happened to watch the end of the Buffalo Bills–Baltimore Ravens game, you would know that the game ended — with some escalated emotions because of the actions of outside linebacker Terrell Suggs toward Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel.
Manuel was in victory formation for the Bills with less than a minute remaining as the Ravens were out of timeouts. It was third down and with a 40-second play clock, and the Bills would’ve been left with roughly 8-10 secs on fourth down.
Manuel snapped the ball and instead of traditionally going right to his knees to burn the clock, Manuel stood in the pocket and tried burning a few extra seconds off the clock in order to minimize the chances of the Ravens touching the ball again.
And if that happened with no issues, the Bills would have held the ball and ran out the clock on fourth down on offense, as they would have snapped the ball and waited until the clock struck triple zeroes to fall to the ground and win the football game.
That wasn’t what happened though… not even close.
Suggs made the decision to tackle Manuel and grab him by the breast plate, spinning him to the ground. Now before you say I’m crazy for being hot about a virtual non-issue, hear me out.
Suggs didn’t have to do that whatsoever. The outcome was inevitable. Keep in mind, the Bills were trying to run out the clock beforehand on their previous drive with Manuel, and that backfield and he nearly fumbled the game away on an option exchange in his own red zone.
They wanted to get out of that game as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Manuel made no move to try and make a first down or cross up the Ravens’ defense. Instead, Suggs tried to be a hero and make a play that wasn’t there to begin with.
I understand that the play is live until the whistle blows. I understand that Manuel was the ball carrier and that technically, Suggs should do whatever he can to bring him down on a regular basis. But, it was a victory formation. This isn’t bush league of Suggs, but it was close and it did warrant a penalty.
The way he grasped the chest plate of Manuel and twisted his body could have caused serious injury … imagine the Bills’ reaction then? And what if this had happened to Joe Flacco?
What would the reaction have been?
I understand Suggs’ mindset that he needs to treat every down like it’s his last, but nothing was going to come from that play. Manuel was holding that ball for dear life because it was not only his second career home victory, but his second victory as an NFL starting quarterback. He can also say he defeated the defending Super Bowl champions… what’s better than that for a young man?
If I was in Suggs’ shoes, I’m not making the tackle. I’m letting Manuel down the ball. Maybe I’m a terrible human being for wanting to win and lose with class and respect, but letting the Bills have a victory that was going to happen anyway isn’t exactly surrendering or quitting on the team before the final whistle blows.
It’s the right thing to do. You never try to hit someone when they are vulnerable like Manuel. Football is a game of respect. Whether or not Suggs had an intent to injure Manuel remains to be seen, but I’ll leave that up to you.