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Ravens deliberate mass holding penalty against Bengals

Posted by John Reed on

Regarding the Ravens holding at the end of their Bengals game
At the end of the Ravens Bengals game on 11/27/16, the Ravens had the ball near their own goal and a 7-point lead. It was fourth down and there were only about ten seconds left.

They wanted to take an intentional safety but they needed to make that final play—in which the punter wanders around in the end zone avoiding tackles until the clock runs out then steps out of bounds.
There is a chapter about intentional safeties in my book Football Clock Management.…/football-clock-management-5th-ed…

The Ravens players all held all the Bengals. That’s illegal but it prevented the Bengals from forcing the punter out of bounds before the clock ran out. And since the game CAN end on an offensive penalty, it did, and the Bengals won by five points.

What do I think? The officials screwed up. They should have thrown a flag for “palpably unfair act” or “extraordinary unfair act” and nullified the running off of time during the holding by adding time back on the clock and replaying the down with the game clock starting on the snap.

I explicitly denounced any such tactic as a violation of the spirit of the rules. The only deliberate penalty for taking time off the clock I agree with is a deliberate delay of game which really only gets you about one more second than snapping the ball at the last second on the play clock.

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