Stop if you’ve heard this before — John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens feel victimized by an NFL rule they believe should be changed. And this time, they actually might have a point.
During the Ravens’ loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday, Baltimore linebacker C.J. Mosley intercepted a Kirk Cousins pass and attempted to return it for a touchdown. When Mosley reached for the goal line, he lost control of the ball and watched it roll out of the end zone, which rules dictate results in a touchback and loss of possession.
Harbaugh, rightfully so, doesn’t understand the logic of the rule, which is especially head-scratching in this case as Washington started that play with the ball on its own 3-yard line and ran the next play — with a new set of downs — from the 20-yard line.
“If you fumble it out of bounds anywhere else, the team that loses the ball gets the ball right there,” Harbaugh said, via CBS Baltimore. “If you fumble it though the end zone, you lose the ball and you lose 20 yards of field position. Pretty hard one to figure out.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Harbaugh or the Ravens took issue with a funky rule, or the lack thereof. During a 2015 AFC divisional playoff game against the New England Patriots, Harbaugh was upset when the Pats lined up players as receivers, despite declaring them ineligible. He apparently was as inspired as he was upset, because he utilized a similar formation the following season.
The rule Harbaugh’s currently upset with was famously close to occurring during a 2005 playoff game between the Patriots and the Denver Broncos, when New England tight end Benjamin Watson showcased some insane athleticism.
In that instance, however, referees ruled the ball out at the 1-yard line — instead of giving the Patriots possession at their own 20 — and the Broncos scored on the next play.
Harbaugh and Patriots coach Bill Belichick hopefully will play by the rules when the two square off Dec. 12 on “Monday Night Football.”
Thumbnail photo via Mitch Stringer/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh