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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Ravens exploit the rulebook, run out clock with holding penalties (Video)


Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh has read up on the NFL rules.

With his team up by six points, backed up to their own 23, facing a fourth down with the clock stopped and needing to kill the final 11 seconds of the game, Harbaugh pulled out a pretty great trick: have all the offensive linemen hold their opponents while the punter runs around in the end zone until the clock expires. And yes, that is enough to end the game without any free plays.

How is this legal, you ask? Straight from the NFL rulebook, there is no replayed, untimed down on an offensive foul on the final play of a half or game. The officials explained on the field after the play that there would be no replay of the down, thus counting the safety against Baltimore and ending the game.

This is essentially the same rule that should have been applied in the Oklahoma State-Central Michigan college game back in September. Here, it was called correctly. The Ravens ran out the clock and did not risk a punt return touchdown that would have tied the game with the extra point. All they had to do was hold everyone for eleven seconds and then give up two meaningless points on the safety. Expect to see the NFL Competition Committee do something about this exploit after the season.

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