January 15, 2011
After blowing a 21-7 halftime lead, the Baltimore Ravens needed a big play to get back in their AFC divisional playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With 6:07 left in the game, Baltimore got it, courtesy of an explosive punt return touchdown by Lardarius Webb(notes).
And then, a flag.
The infraction looked clear on the live replay: Marcus Smith of the Ravens appeared to tackle the Steelers' Will Allen near the 20-yard line, freeing Webb for the final yards needed to get to the end zone. However, when the replay was shown, there was no foul to be seen, only good acting:
Ugh, the dreaded flop. For so many years it's avoided use in the NFL, but in recent weeks viewers have seen more and more players intentionally falling to the ground in order to draw a flag.
Let's get something straight, guys: This isn't soccer and you're not a European player in the NBA. This is football; a man's game. Don't flop.
It takes two to tango though; the player taking the dive and the official throwing a flag. This egregious breach of football etiquette is on both Allen and the official who called a penalty.
Now, granted, the Ravens had other chances to get seven points on the drive. Baltimore had a first-and-goal inside the 10-yard line and a third-down pass into the end zone was dropped by Anquan Boldin(notes). The offense was a mess in the whole second half and the defense didn't perform much better. But that's hindsight talking.
The Ravens should have had the lead late in the game. Instead, it was called back by a brutal flop and an even more brutal call.
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