Before the overtime quarter began, a tirade on the sideline erupted as Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith was found jawing at safety James Ihedigbo for the miscue he had on the Hail Mary play that lead to the game being in overtime in the first place. Yes, Ihedigbo did tip the ball right into the hands of Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, but sometimes, freak plays happen to work.
I actually defend both players on each side of this argument as I understand where they are coming from, but I tend to side more with Ihedigbo.
Smith has a point in that all defenders know what their job is in that situation. No matter who is around, no matter where the ball is being thrown, no matter what other strange circumstances are going on at the time, the ball has to be knocked down.
And when you read the lips of Smith on the sideline, he was essentially reiterating that to Ihedigbo. And James has to know this as well. As great as he played Sunday – Ihedigbo has nine tackles, three passes defended, two interceptions and assisted on the final tackle-for-loss along with Ravens corner Corey Graham – the 29-year-old knows he made a mistake and as an emerging leader of this football team, he had to be held accountable.
The seven-year NFL veteran joined WNST Radio’s Glenn Clark on “The Reality Check” and delivered exactly what you would have hoped he’d say in regards to the play and his verbal altercation with Smith.
“I’m sure you’ve gotten in arguments before,” Ihedigbo said. “We’re brothers and we battle together. A Hail Mary is exactly what it is… it’s a 50-50 miracle. To battle back from that… it all worked out. Thinking to bat it down, and to shoot it back up… it feels good until you’re in the predicament.”
I commend Ihedigbo on stepping up to the plate and admitting he made a mistake, but I have a bit of a problem with Jimmy Smith.
I understand the point he is trying to get across, but a third-year player, who is acting a lot like Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant on the sidelines, needs to know his place. Yes, Smith is a former first-round pick, but he has played up to that grade at times and other times not. He’s battled injuries throughout his brief career and has yet to emerge to the level most expected him to. I admire the passion. I admire a guy who gets pissed off when all he wants to do is win. However, don’t yell at the man on the field… keep it in the locker room or just do the easiest thing: Go out and win the football game.
Luckily, this play wasn’t the reason we’re talking about a 3-6 Ravens team, but rather a 4-5 Baltimore team that is still alive in the AFC playoff picture.