Billick: No prep for bizarre end


Team to express `concerns' to NFL about how field-goal call was changed

Ravens Notebook

November 20, 2007|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN REPORTER

One day after the most bizarre defeat in his nine seasons as coach of the Ravens, Brian Billick wouldn't inflame the controversy surrounding Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson's game-tying, 51-yard field goal at the end of regulation. But Billick didn't exactly douse it, either.

Billick said the team would express to the NFL its "concerns" about the way the field officials reversed the call after consulting with the replay official about procedure. He displayed his trademark sarcasm in talking about whether his team was prepared to go back on the field for overtime.

"For us, it's a matter of moving on," Billick said. "[We're] very disappointed. [It was] surely as unique a circumstance as I've ever been a part of."

Dawson's 33-yard field goal in overtime won the game for the Browns, 33-30.

"In all the years I've done this, we've talked in training camp for preparing your team for the inevitable things that happen. I was remiss in covering what we do when we've won a game, go in the locker room and be told to come back out and play again," Billick said. "That's not one scenario I've covered. I don't know I had them adequately prepared for that."

Asked whether the Ravens were emotionally ready to play overtime, Billick said: "They had to be. When you've lost, supposedly, and now you're given a chance to say, `You've got a shot.' That's a wholly different mind-set than you've won, `Oh, no, no, no, we've got to do it again.' Now that can't be an excuse. They've got to be able to go back on the field and perform as well. They [the Browns] deserve the credit they get for winning the game."

An NFL official said earlier in the day that the officials were correct in their call. Though field goals fall under an assortment of plays that are not reviewable, the officials conferred with a replay official about procedure but didn't review the call by watching replays.

"But they made the right decision, and I'm happy about that," Mike Pereira, the NFL's vice president of officiating, told CBS

Stan White, a radio analyst for WBAL/98 Rock, was standing behind the goal posts when Dawson attempted his field goal at the end of regulation. He called Pereira after officials reversed their call because they realized that the ball, which first hit the inside of the left upright, had bounced off the support behind the crossbar.

"They just talked about how to make the call," White said. "The fact that he [referee Pete Morelli] put on the headphones and asked if it was reviewable. He knows that it's not reviewable. He knows what the rules are. There's little doubt in my mind that somebody told him that the replay showed that it was good and they decided they had to get it right or they were going to face worse scrutiny, even though the methodology to do it was wrong."

Pryce out for year?

Veteran defensive lineman Trevor Pryce, who missed five games this season with a broken left wrist, suffered either a strained or torn pectoral muscle against the Browns. The extent of the injury will likely be known tonight or tomorrow, but the four-time Pro Bowl player could be done for the season.

"The prognosis right now isn't very good," Billick said.

Kicking to Cribbs

Billick would not second-guess special teams coach Frank Gansz Jr.'s decision to kick the ball to Browns returner Joshua Cribbs, whose 41-yard sprint to start the overtime period gave Cleveland great field position.

On the series that ended with Dawson's game-tying 51-yard field goal, Cribbs had returned Matt Stover's kick 39 yards to the Browns' 43.

"You have one of two options: You kick the ball out of bounds and give it to them on the 40," Billick said. "At some point, you've got to kick it on the field of play, unless you're good enough to kick it out of the back of the end zone. At the end of the day, you've got to kick it to the guy unless you want to squib it, which is a little dangerous, as well."

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