Game 4: Penalty killer for Ravens
Questionable roughing-the-passer call on Suggs key on Titans' game-winning drive
The Ravens' Terrell Suggs (center) was called for a questionable roughing penalty on Kerry Collins (5) during Tennessee's winning drive. (Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr. / October 5, 2008)
But the Ravens - and a good amount of the sellout crowd at M&T Bank Stadium - think someone else beat them yesterday.
The turning point in a penalty-marred game came when referee Bill Carollo flagged Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs for a controversial roughing-the-passer penalty.
Eight plays later, Collins hit tight end Alge Crumpler for the go-ahead touchdown with 1:56 left in the game, a triumphant moment in Collins' first start against the Ravens since getting roughed up by them in the 2001 Super Bowl.
The Ravens (2-2), however, could only wonder whether he received some outside help.
"From the way the game was going, I think the referee just probably wanted to feel important," Suggs said after watching the teams combine for 21 penalties. "If I did anything illegal, I will say that I left my team vulnerable. But to be 100 yards away - I was nowhere near his head. We hit arms. I was trying to block the ball.
"If I'm guilty of anything, I'm guilty of playing physical football. They said I hit him in the head, but I was nowhere near his head. In my six years of being an NFL player, I've never hit a quarterback in the head."
It appeared from replays that Suggs hit Collins on the right shoulder, near the helmet.
But Carollo, who made the call on the field, had a different look from his viewpoint.
"He got him on the side of the helmet, the right side of the helmet," said Carollo, who has officiated two Super Bowls in his 19 years in the NFL.
After starting the game 11-for-22 for 101 yards, Collins went 6-for-10 for 62 yards on the decisive drive.
He was vague in his recollection of the Suggs hit.
"I really don't know where he hit me; I know I got hit," Collins said. "I think he hit me in the head, but it's hard to remember every play."
Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who could be fined like players who criticize the officiating, declined to elaborate on the penalty.
"I can't comment on those kinds of things," he said.
The play became more debatable because of an obscure "five-and-15" rule.
According to Carollo, the officials had whistled the play dead after flagging Tennessee offensive tackle Michael Roos for a false start.
But the Ravens and the Titans continued to play, and Suggs was called for a personal foul.
Under NFL rules, any 15-yard penalty (such as a personal foul) takes precedent and nullifies a 5-yard penalty (such as a false start).