Good Call, Bad Call on Most Controversial Officials Decisions of Ravens-Broncos

Nick Kostora@@nickkostoraContributor IIIJanuary 13, 2013

Good Call, Bad Call on Most Controversial Officials Decisions of Ravens-Broncos

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    There were a plethora of questionable officiating decisions throughout the Divisional Round showdown between the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens.

    At times, the game slowed down to a snail's pace as the guys in stripes spent minutes upon minutes discussing, reversing and reviewing plays.

    Did the officials have a tangible effect on the Ravens eventual victory? Perhaps not, but they definitely threw some flags that made little to no sense.

    So, when sorting through the 18 penalties, which were most controversial?

    Let's play "good call, bad call" with the five most controversial decisions of the game. 

5. Anquan Boldin Overtime Catch

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    This picture sends a bit of a mixed message.

    As Anquan Boldin hauled in a third-down pass for 11 yards in overtime, the ball appeared to hit the ground as he completed the catch.

    However, while this picture clearly shows the ball hitting the ground, the real question is whether or not Boldin had possession when it did.

    The ruling on the field was a catch, so it would have been tough to overturn it. Confirming the catch was the right course of action.

    A tweet from Pro Football Talk summed it up best:

    Good call on replay -- ball hit the ground but didn't move enough to be an incompletion.Bert Emanuel rule applied as intended.

    — ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) January 13, 2013

    Verdict: Good Call

4. Defenseless Receiver Call Against Chykie Brown

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    On this play, Peyton Manning connected with Joel Dreessen for a first down near midfield. The impending tackle by Chykie Brown was questionable in the sense that helmet-to-helmet contact was definitely made.

    Mike Pereira again chimed in on this play by saying the following:

    Clear foul for hit on a defenseless receiver. Lowered his head and made helmet to helmet contact. Receiver had not completed the catch.

    — Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) January 13, 2013

    This was certainly a "bang bang" play, but Dreessen had not yet completed the catch when Brown flew in and clearly lowered his head to hit him.

    Score one for the referees.

    Verdict: Good Call

3. Champ Bailey Pass Interference

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    On a third-down play later in overtime, Champ Bailey was flagged for pass interference.

    Bailey was certainly playing tight coverage on receiver Torrey Smith, but throwing a flag did not seem to fit with the way the officials had called most of the game. 

    There did appear to be some holding on the part of Bailey, but not enough to warrant a penalty, especially at such an important juncture in the game.

    Mike Pereira again said as much on Twitter:


    That's too tight to call DPI. Not a good call in my opinion. He grabs but doesn't significantly hinder the receiver.

    — Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) January 13, 2013

    Verdict: Bad Call

2. The Peyton Manning "Tuck Play"

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    It almost happened. We almost witnessed the second playoff instance of the infamous "Tuck Rule."

    When Manning drops back to pass and is immediately swarmed by Ravens defenders, he starts a throwing motion and appears to pull the ball back in to his stomach. Manning then proceeds to fumble the ball and lose possession.

    Or, was he "tucking" the football?

    It turns out the controversy and credibility of another "tuck rule" play did not come to pass and the officials got this one right.

    Verdict: Good Call

1. Corey Graham Pick-Six

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    The play by Corey Graham to react on a tipped pass, catch the ball and take it to the end zone was certainly good, but it did not come without controversy.

    It appeared that fellow defensive back Chykie Brown pulled on Eric Decker's arm and prevented him from making a play on the football. 

    Officiating guru Mike Pereira shared this insight on the play:

    In my opinion he made contact as he was turning around and was not making a legitimate play on the ball when the contact first occurred.

    — Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) January 12, 2013

    Pereira make a valid point and the interference from Brown was blatant. 

    Verdict: Bad Call