NFL Analysis: Bengals, Ravens and Touchdown Catches

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This is a weekly free therapy session I provide for not only myself, but for all football fans. If you’re looking for politically correct, mainstream, polite, NFL content, you’ve come to the wrong place. In fact, on any given week you should be prepared to either agree with me or be offended, belittled, shocked, and insulted.

You can expect to find anger, sarcasm, foul language (I will do my best to refrain), and whatever the hell else I’m feeling come 1 am CST Tuesday mornings this NFL season. So, lie down on your couch and grab your tissue because your NFL Week 12 session has begun……

On Monday Mike Cardano wrote about the Calvin Johnson Rule, how stupid it was and how the enforcement of the rule was the most arcane routine officiating procedure in the NFL since giving the kickoff team endless opportunities to retry an onsides kick near the end of a game after kicking the ball out of bounds over and over again. He went on to ask the question, “Exactly who is the mental midget on the NFL Rules Committee that came up with the Calvin Johnson rule and what other members constituted the majority to pass it?”

I know that there is a rules committee. I know everything is voted on in the NFL. I still blame Roger Goodell though. This is his softer, more confusing NFL. No one knows what the hell a touchdown catch is anymore, what a legal hit is, or where to stick a tampon. Just when you think you have it figured out, they throw you a curve ball. I don’t blame the officials, because they don’t even know what a catch is. Roger Goodell is the goddamn Commissioner of the NFL, so when the Calvin Johnson play first happened, he should have stepped up and made sure it never happened again. But like almost every authoritative leader in the world these days it seems, Goodell chose to make a bad situation worse and not declare error / fault with the Johnson call. I guess you can’t expect a testosterone-less executive to now man up and take responsibility for his actions.

Obviously, the play I’m talking about happened in the Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens game.  There are so many issues with the play. First off, let’s talk about how important this game was. 6-3 Cincinnati was facing a divisional rival, 6-3 Baltimore. The Bengals were trying to prove that they are legit and can beat their big brothers. They failed last week against Pittsburgh and again this week to the Ravens. This play can be to blame for contributing to the loss this week and it’s inexcusable.

Where do I start? After watching that clip it’s sickening. Jermaine Gresham clearly regained possession of the ball, kept both feet in bounds, and then crosses the goal line for a touchdown. Nope, don’t go on. Stop right there. Nothing matters anymore after this point. I don’t care if you think he hit the ground and the ball did roll out of his hands, it doesn’t matter. Why? When the ball crosses the plane of the goal line in possession of the offensive player’s hands, it’s a touchdown and the play is over. We watch this happen many times every season. Whether it’s a running back sailing over the line of scrimmage on a goal line run and the balls gets hit out a split second after the point of the ball crosses the goal or it’s a screen where the receiver catches the ball and takes two steps before diving at the pylon. Both situations are touchdowns. If the Bengals are on the one yard line and Andy Dalton throws a screen to a receiver that’s out wide and the receiver takes two steps and dives at the pylon, the defender can hit him out of bounds and the ball can fall out of his hand as soon as the tip touches the pylon it’s ruled a touchdown…even if the ball goes flying into the front row before the receivers body touches the ground.

That’s just the first part. It isn’t even the worse part of the whole play. As you see in the video, the official rules the play a touchdown. What does that mean? It means that if they challenge the play it has to be conclusive that the ball came out. I must have seen the video 100 times. At no point did I see a shot where I felt that there was no question that he loss possession. One shot shows the ball move but his hand is still around it. You can’t say that he definitely loss possession. Even if you think he did, the video doesn’t show it. What’s more is that they reviewed the play for five minutes. Five minutes! How can they say that they conclusively saw video of him lose possession when they had to look at every angle about 3-4 times each before making a decision? If it’s conclusive, then you see that the first time you look at a play. Why would you have to look at a play from every angle multiple times before you’re comfortable saying that it was conclusively, 100%, without any doubt, incomplete? Because they didn’t know what to call that’s why! The refs had a free out. All they had to say was that the play stands as called, meaning that that there was not enough video evidence to overturn. But the trained monkey messed that up and possibly changed the face of teams’ playoff hopes.

I wouldn’t be so bent out of shape if the play didn’t factor in to what seemingly cost the game. Cincinnati had to kick a field goal due to the horrible decision. Instead of the score being 31-28 Baltimore, it was 31-24. When the Bengals got the ball back they drove down for a first and goal. A few plays later the Bengals had 4th and goal for what seemed like a mile. Obviously, if they hadn’t been cheated out of a touchdown they would have just kicked a field goal and took their chances on overtime. Instead they had to get the touchdown to tie and the attempt failed.

Wait! The refs mishaps didn’t stop there. On 2nd and goal from the 7-yard line Andy Dalton attempted to get a pass off but in the process of being sacked he threw the ball away and intentional grounding was called. So, what’s the problem with that? The defender, Terrell Suggs placed his hand in the back of the shoulder pads of Dalton during the sack attempt. That’s right kids, a horse collar penalty should have been called. That would have made it 1st and goal from the 3-yard line. Instead the intentional grounding made it 3rd and goal from the 17 and nearly impossible for the Bengals to have a chance.

Every official in this game should have to line up and take a punch in the face from every member of the Cincinnati Bengals. I’m not saying the game was rigged but after the way these officials screwed the pooch on this game…it would be a higher compliment to say that, then to believe that they reached this level of pure stupidity!

Jayson Braddock is an NFL Scout / NFL Writer & On-Air Personality. Jayson is also a football insider for the Dylan Gwinn show on 790 AM in Houston, TX - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or You can also catch Jayson on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew every Thursday at 10:30am ET. You may email Jayson directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @JaysonBraddock