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Though Adrian Peterson didn’t specify via Twitter just what he was upset about regarding the officiating in his Vikings’ 29-26 loss to the Ravens on Sunday, we can take a pretty good guess. There were at least three key calls that were questionable from the Minnesota viewpoint.
*At 6:36 of the first quarter, Peterson’s substitute at running back, Toby Gerhart, lost the ball in a crowd on a rushing attempt, and the Ravens’ Matt Elam recovered at the Vikings’ 25-yard line. The ruling went to replay, which appeared to clearly show that Gerhart’s knee was down before the ball squirted out. However, the call on the field was upheld. Four plays later, the Ravens scored their first touchdown.
*At 5:51 of the second quarter, Minnesota picked up 18 yards on an end-around by Cordarrelle Patterson to the Ravens’ 2. However, Vikings guard Joe Berger was called for an illegal block on linebacker Daryl Smith. The penalty, for a chop block, looked like a marginal call. Berger seemed to be maintaining contact with Smith before he dropped lower and cut him down. Instead of first down on the 2, the Vikings faced third-and-24 from the 35. They settled for a field goal.
*With 32 seconds left in the game, Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway was called for pass interference on tight end Dennis Pitta. The call wiped out what would have been a game-ending interception by Andrew Sendejo and gave the Ravens the ball on Minnesota’s 27. While just about any but the most obvious interference call is open to question, the Vikings’ gripe on this penalty could be twofold —Greenway’s contact with Pitta was incidental, and, even if he did impede Pitta, it may have come before the ball was in the air, which would make it a 5-yard illegal contact call. That would have put the ball at the Vikings’ 40 instead. As it happened, on the third play after the penalty, Joe Flacco hit Marlon Brown in the back of the end zone for the winning touchdown, a 9-yard score with :04 left.
But at least the officials didn’t throw any snowballs.