Purple passion often produces penalties, too

Insider

Ravens Weekend

December 07, 2007|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN REPORTER

The Ravens' emotional outbursts late in Monday night's 27-24 loss to the New England Patriots not only took some of the attention away from their best game of the season but it also reinforced their reputation as an out-of-control team on the field.

Five years ago against the New Orleans Saints, cornerback Chris McAlister ripped off Donte Stallworth's helmet and threw it into the end zone after getting tangled up with the receiver.

Two years ago in Detroit, linebacker Terrell Suggs got so incensed after he was flagged for a questionable roughing-the-passer penalty that he jumped into the face of referee Mike Carey. He apparently bumped his face mask against the bill of Carey's cap and was ejected. (Suggs contended he made no contact.)

On Monday night, linebacker Bart Scott gave the franchise another black eye when he picked up an official's flag and threw it into the stands. This display of frustration came before the biggest audience in cable television history.

Ravens coach Brian Billick emphasizes that everyone plays with passion, and his teams are known for playing with intensity.

But too many times, especially this season, the Ravens have crossed the line between playing with emotion and playing without focus.

One-third of the Ravens' penalties this season have been the result of players not going on the snap of the ball. There have been 21 false starts by the offense and 10 offside penalties by the defense.

Surprisingly, the third-most common penalty by the Ravens this season has been delay of game.

There have been five times when quarterback Steve McNair or Kyle Boller failed to get the ball snapped before the play clock expired. The other four delay-of-game penalties were from carelessness by other players, whether it was receiver Demetrius Williams spinning the ball after a first down or nose tackle Kelly Gregg kicking the ball into the back of the end zone after a play.

Other needless penalties include twice putting 12 players on defense and twice lining up in the neutral zone.

In total, 33 of the 58 Ravens who have played a game this season have committed at least one penalty. Suggs has been flagged the most on defense (seven penalties), and tight end Quinn Sypniewski has the most on offense (six).

In a season when the Ravens have lost so many players to injuries, they have hurt themselves more with penalties. That's why they can't expect to win when they constantly lose their cool and their focus.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

FLAGS WILL FLY

The top five most-penalized teams in the NFL this season:

Team ................ Pen. ............ Yds.

Arizona ........... 108 ................ 875

Cleveland ........ 95 ................. 716

Green Bay ...... 95 .................. 852

Ravens ........... 92 ................... 698

Oakland ......... 86 ................... 607

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