Harbaugh: 'We didn't play well at all' against Bills
Along with all of the things that went wrong for the Ravens in Sunday’s 23-20 loss to the Bills — nearly all of them Baltimore’s own doing — they still caught an awful lot of breaks, even if they ultimately couldn’t capitalize on them enough to win.
Three calls were overturned in the Ravens’ favor when referee Jerome Boger checked under the hood for replays. Now, you could say each of those decisions were the correct ones — CBS commentator Dan Fouts agreed with them — but as anyone who has watched NFL games knows, it has to qualify as a break when an official replay returns with the correct call.
In the first instance, Buffalo safety Jim Leonhard was ruled to have recovered a fumble by receiver Tandon Doss at the Ravens’ 18 with about 4:30 left in the first half. The Bills knocked the ball loose from Doss right after an apparent reception, but the replay official challenged the call, and it was changed to an incomplete pass, ruling that Dosss didn’t have possession long enough.
With about 7 minutes left in the third quarter, with Buffalo leading by six, the Bills seemed to have pulled themselves out of a hole by completing a long sideline pass to tight end Scott Chandler. But the Ravens challenged, and Chandler was found to have gotten only one foot inbounds. So instead of a first down at their 33, the Bills went back to their 10 and ended up going three-and-out.
Finally, about 5 minutes later on third down from the Ravens’ 4, an apparent Bills touchdown was waved off. Robert Woods had caught E.J. Manuel’s pass in the corner of the end zone, but the replay assistant again challenged the call on the field, and the referee saw the ball slightly dislodged by Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith before Woods gained control out of bounds. Buffalo had to settle for a field goal.
Other breaks involve errors of commission by the Bills. Buffalo was called for 11 penalties for 99 yards, and as CBS pointed out, four of them came at the start of drives. In the fourth quarter, the Bills also made a 33-yard pass play from Joe Flacco to Deonte Thompson even bigger when Leonhard was flagged for his high hit, setting up the Ravens at Buffalo’s 11. The Ravens were able to get only a field goal out of it, though, making it a three-point game with 4:08 left in the game.
Those plays help explain how the Ravens stayed in the game and had a late chance to win despite playing so poorly for most of the afternoon.