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Wide receiver Lee Evans had the go-ahead touchdown pass in his hands, in the end zone, with two feet down.
But with the swipe of a hand, Patriots cornerback Sterling Moore punched the ball out of Evans’ hands.
The Ravens had one more chance to win, and a final chance to tie went wide. But after the game, Evans took credit for Baltimore’s 23-20 AFC championship loss in New England.
Spoiled Plays In Final Seconds
“The most disappointing part of all this is that I feel personally that I let everybody down,” Evans said. “This is the greatest team that I’ve been on and I feel that I let everybody down. It’s on my shoulders.”
In the minutes after the game, Evans said he wasn’t sure if he had finished the completion.
“I felt like I had it but it came out,” Evans said. “I don’t even really know how to put it in words.”
Quarterback Joe Flacco said he didn’t get a good look at the incompletion, but just saw his teammates momentarily celebrating. He was cheering himself before seeing the referee.
“I threw my hands up and started running that way,” Flacco said. “Stuff like that happens. You move on to the next play.”
While he doesn’t feel the win was taken from the Ravens, Head Coach John Harbaugh said he was disappointed the officials did not review the play.
“I tried to get [the officials'] attention and thought it would be looked at,” Harbaugh said. “I thought they would have at least looked at it. I was surprised that they didn’t look at it. Obviously, in that situation, I thought they would have looked at it.”
It was under two minutes (27 seconds), so any play can be automatically put under review. It’s the responsibility of the officials to determine if it’s close enough to take a second look.
“I thought you had to get two feet down or something like that,” offensive tackle Michael Oher said. “I don’t know what else you have to do. It looked like a touchdown to me.”
Harbaugh added that it’s up to the Ravens, despite no challenge, to make the play.
Flacco said he normally wouldn’t have thrown that pass, but he figured he could confuse the cornerback on a slant-go route.
“I figured we had a chance to get the corner and get lost there,” Flacco said. “That’s what I saw. Without his eyes on the ball, I just said, ‘I’m going to throw it right over his head and give Lee a chance to make a play.’”
Evans actually had his best game of a frustrating season leading up to the incompletion. He made a season-high three catches for 39 yards.
But drops have plagued Evans for the second half of his injury-truncated season. And it was a painful way to end his first postseason trip of his eight-year career.
“[The pass] hit me right where you would want to be hit,” Evans said. “It was a great pass by Joe, but it just was not completed by me. Nobody else can take the fall for that.”