‘It Looked Like A Fumble’ To Harbaugh

Matt Cassel had a fumble turned into an incomplete pass because of the ‘confusing’ tuck rule.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Monday, January 10th, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Categories: 2010 Season, Mike Duffy, Wild Card at Chiefs

For the first time in Head Coach John Harbaugh’s tenure, the Ravens were faced with a “tuck rule” situation.

That may be why Harbaugh joked that he needed a refresher on the rule’s details when officials overturned what they originally called a fumble when Ravens cornerback Lardarius Webb screamed into the Chiefs’ backfield and knocked the ball out of Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel’s hand. After a Chiefs’ challenge and review, referee Mike Carey ruled it an incomplete pass.

“When that happened, my thoughts on the tuck rule were, ‘What’s the tuck rule, again? How does that work?’” Harbaugh said with a laugh in his Monday press conference. “Little bit confusing. It looked like a fumble to me.

“The tuck rule – that’s one of the more confusing rules in football.”

Per the tuck rule, made famous in a 2001 playoff game between the New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders, a quarterback’s throwing motion begins when he raises the ball in his hand and begins to move his arm forward and doesn’t end until he tucks the ball back against his body.

Therefore, Cassel’s flub was actually an incomplete pass. Chiefs ball.

The Ravens also sent film of a play they think should have been whistled.

Late in the second quarter, quarterback Joe Flacco ran 13 yards for a first down and was in a full slide when Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher hit him squarely in the head.

Flacco did receive the benefit of a roughing-the-passer penalty later in the game when a Kansas City defender brushed against his knee, but the Ravens would like an explanation on the former instance.

“They got the one – the penalty to Joe in the knee,” said Harbaugh. “That was a good call. The helmet-to-helmet on the slide, Joe is protected at that point from a head shot. And then the other one, that speaks for itself. Everybody saw that.”

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