Delay non-call frustrates Titans

Updated: January 12, 2009, 3:28 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher, who took a possible delay of game non-call in stride after Saturday night's playoff loss to Baltimore, was less charitable on Sunday.

"I've always maintained that there's a human element in the game as far as officiating is concerned. [They're] going to make mistakes; it is part of our game,'' Fisher said, according to The Tennessean. "But this particular mistake was unacceptable. There is no excuse for it, it was a mistake, and it was a costly mistake.

"It was not the reason we lost the game, but it was a mistake, an error.''

The non-call came on what turned out to be a Ravens drive which produced the game-winning field goal. On third-and-2 from the Baltimore 32 with 2:51 remaining and the score tied at 10, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco didn't take the snap until after the play clock had hit zero. He hit tight end Todd Heap down the middle for a 23-yard gain.

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Watch highlights from the Baltimore Ravens' 13-10 win over the Tennessee Titans.

After the game, referee Terry McAulay said there was a "natural delay" when the back judge looks from the play clock to the center to see if the ball is snapped. The play clock at LP Field is located on the Jumbotron scoreboard, not at field level.

On Sunday, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told The Tennessean: "There's always a delay, the back judge looks at the clock and when it hits zero he looks at the ball and if the ball is in the process of being snapped there is no penalty, so the back judge has to make a determination.''

Fisher, who said after the game that the call was not reviewable, was a little more definitive after seeing the game films.

"I have seen them close,'' he said. "But not this much delay."

Fisher is co-chairman of the NFL's Competition Committee, which helps determine which plays are reviewable.

Information from ESPN.com NFL bloggers Paul Kuharsky and Tim Graham is included in this report

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