Ravens' leaders rip into referees

Updated: October 5, 2009, 7:23 PM ET
By Mike Reiss | ESPN Boston

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- While there was excitement in the Patriots' locker room following their 27-21 win over the Ravens, some Baltimore players questioned the officiating of Ron Winter and his crew.

The dissatisfaction hadn't faded Monday.

"I know Joe [Flacco] got hit [six] different times hard, and there was one call," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "There were five that weren't called, and the one that was called was the sixth. Tom [Brady] didn't get hit five times. We want him to be hit more than he was hit, but when he did sort of get hit, it was called. That goes to the credibility of the whole thing."

Harbaugh said the Ravens intended to submit film of the questionable calls to the league.

Asked if the Baltimore defense might be scrutinized more than other teams because of its surly reputation, Harbaugh replied, "That's an interesting question. I sure hope not, because that goes back to the credibility of the league and the credibility of the game."

Linebacker Ray Lewis said much the same thing following Sunday's game.

"Without totally going off the wall here, it is embarrassing to the game," Lewis said. "[Tom] Brady is good enough to make his own plays, let him make the play. When you have two great teams that are going at it, let them go at it. Both of their touchdown drives had personal fouls that kept drives alive. Did that win or lose the game? No, but it got them 14 points."

The Ravens were called for two key roughing the passer penalties, one on Haloti Ngata in the first quarter and another on Terrell Suggs in the second quarter that kept drives alive. The Patriots ended up scoring touchdowns on both drives.

On his weekly radio appearance on WEEI Radio in Boston on Monday, Brady said roughing the passer penalties are a "tough call" for officials.

"I never think those guys are being malicious out there. They are trying to make a play, make the tackle, and it's tough for a defensive player to [pull off] a quarterback," Brady said.

Still, Brady said the roughing the passer penalties end up evening out.

"They can't judge intent, so they just judge on what happens," Brady said. "It really goes both ways. We've had plenty of roughing the quarterbacks that go against our team, and we get some sometimes. I think in the end, they all pretty much even out."

After expressing frustration at the NFL's roughing the passer rules, safety Ed Reed was asked his thoughts on some of the spots that the Ravens received on close plays.

"Terrible," Reed told reporters. "Nothing to take away from anybody else's job, but at some point, we have to be better about that. This game has evolved too much not to be precise when there is a spot, when there is a penalty, when anything is going on on this field. We're too smart as human beings.

"The history of the game -- from where it's been to where it's come to -- to not be precise ... This is a game of inches. This has been a game of inches for years. Now you're putting one person in charge, or two people in charge [of spotting the ball], and they're making things bad. I swear it felt like 2007 almost, when we played the Patriots at home. They don't need no help. They're a great team. They don't need any help from anybody. We don't need any help from anybody. We definitely don't need anyone taking it away from us."

Asked his biggest gripe, Reed said: "It just felt like everything was kind of all over again. You hate to come into a game where you have to play against a team and the officials. Like I said, nothing to take away from their team, nothing to take away from the officials. We have to help each other out in a way to where it's near as perfect as we can be. Like I said, it's a game of inches. We have too much going on with this game, from where it's come to in 2009, 2010, to say we can't be a little bit more precise with things."

Reed was specifically referring to Willis McGahee's fourth-and-1 run in the fourth quarter in which he was stopped for no gain, and the Patriots' fake field goal in the fourth quarter.

"When Willis had his fourth-down try, it probably wouldn't have been a first [down], but it probably should have been a little closer," he said. "The [Patriots'] spots, the guy stepped out of bounds. Even though we got the penalty on that fourth down when they faked the field goal, the guy stepped out and he reached the ball. Certain things like that. Like I said, you have to play the game."

The Ravens were flagged for nine accepted penalties for 85 yards. The Patriots were flagged for five accepted penalties for 41 yards.

Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPN Boston. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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