Despite the play of the Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers being less than stellar, the officiating was even worse.
Regardless of the performances of the Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers in the 16-13 overtime victory, the performance of the officials in the game was terrible and even appalling. Understand that the referees were not responsible for the Ravens win or Chargers loss, but their obvious lack of consistency was clearly evident throughout the game.
On the game's biggest play, Ravens RB Ray Rice took a short dump-off pass from QB Joe Flacco and wove his way downfield for just enough yardage to give the Ravens a first down on a fourth-and-29 play. The play was reviewed by the officials and even though it stood as a first down, the ball was replaced and re-measured before confirming the correct call.
Speaking of the review, it seems that the rule is that unless the replay shows otherwise without any doubt, the play must stand as called on the field. The officials must have taken close to fifteen minutes to reach a decision, which should be an embarrassment that would appear more suited to some of the things we saw from the replacement officials earlier in the year instead of the veteran officials.
Twice during the game there were players hit and tackled well out of bounds. Once it was the Ravens tackling a Chargers player at least two yards off the edge of the gridiron and once the opposite way around. Both plays seemed to show penalty-worthy flags being thrown by the zebras. In each case, nothing was called.
However, later in the game with the Ravens within a score of the Chargers, a key third down deep throw appeared to be going over the head along the sidelines and Ravens safety Bernard Pollard put his shoulder into the midsection of the Chargers receiver knocking him and Ed Reed out of bounds.
Out came the yellow hanky with the call being a hit to the head of a defenseless player. They replay clearly showed Pollard nowhere close to the helmet and using his shoulder rather than the helmet as a weapon. Even Ravens head coach John Harbaugh complained to the ref after seeing the replay on the stadium scoreboard clearly showing a legal hit. However, the call obviously stood, which resulted in a first down and ultimately a San Diego field goal, increasing their lead to ten points at that time.
The game ended as a Ravens victory but the inconsistency shown throughout the game is something that just should not be acceptable to the teams, the league, the Commissioners Office, nor the officials themselves.