Harbaugh staying mum

RAVENS NOTEBOOK

Coach declines to address questionable roughing-the-passer call

October 07, 2008|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,edward.lee@baltsun.com

Ravens coach John Harbaugh and the NFL can agree on one thing: no comment.

Neither party was willing to answer questions regarding the controversial roughing-the-passer penalty on linebacker Terrell Suggs that contributed to the Tennessee Titans' game-winning touchdown drive in the Ravens' 13-10 loss Sunday.

On third-and-10 late in the fourth quarter, referee Bill Carollo flagged Suggs for what Carollo saw as a blow to Titans quarterback Kerry Collins' helmet, even though video replays appeared to show that Suggs was closer to Collins' shoulder than his head. Eight plays later, Tennessee concluded an 80-yard drive when Collins threw an 11-yard pass to tight end Alge Crumpler for the game-winner with 1:56 left.

Answering a question about Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth's throwing down rookie quarterback Joe Flacco on the Ravens' opening drive of the second half, Harbaugh pointed out that coaches and players are not permitted to criticize officials without risking a fine. Teams with questions can send game film to Mike Pereira, the NFL's vice president of officiating, and seek clarification.

"Not commenting on it has nothing to do with being fined or not being fined," Harbaugh said. "I don't care about fines. I want to get to the bottom of it and find out what's right and find out how to coach our players as we go forward. And the NFL does a nice job of giving you an avenue to do that."

The NFL also declined to get involved. "We do not have a comment," league spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an e-mail yesterday. "Bill Carollo explained it in the pool report."

In an interview with The Baltimore Sun's Jamison Hensley, who served as the pool reporter Sunday, Carollo also insisted that officials had blown the whistle to signal a false start on Tennessee offensive tackle Michael Roos, but both teams continued to play until the call on Suggs.

Asked whether he could tell on the game film that officials tried to stop play, Harbaugh said: "You can't see any such effort on the tape. You can't see anything on the tape."

Injury update

The team is still waiting for magnetic resonance imaging results on offensive tackle Adam Terry's sprained right knee and cornerback Fabian Washington's sprained right shoulder, but Harbaugh sounded optimistic that both could play Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

Regarding Washington, Harbaugh said: "He felt pretty good this morning. That's not always an indication though. We'll just have to see where he is after today."

Asked to update the status of wide receiver Derrick Mason (left thumb) and tight end Daniel Wilcox (hand), Harbaugh mentioned only Mason, saying: "Derrick Mason should be fine, but he's going to be dealing with some bumps and bruises, and he's going to have to spend a little time in treatment this week. But he should be fine."

End zone

Running back Willis McGahee shouldered the blame for zero yards on his last four carries on the Ravens' possession before the Titans' game-winning drive. "We had that last drive, and I wasn't getting any yardage," said McGahee, who accomplished his oft-stated goal last week of finishing a game. "It was no gain, no gain, loss of 1 yard. You can put that on me because even though they were coming straight through, I'm still supposed to get to the line of scrimmage." ... The fisticuffs and barking that went on between Mason and Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan drew the attention of Haynesworth, who likened Mason to "that little Chihuahua that is always barking." Said Haynesworth: "I guess you had two little Chihuahuas barking with Cortland. "We know that's how [Mason] played and Cortland plays like that, so we knew it was going to be a battle." ... The Ravens are six points away from being undefeated, but that has provided little solace to the players. The Ravens led 13-3 until the Pittsburgh Steelers scored 14 points in a 15-second span in the third quarter and prevailed, 23-20, in overtime. The Ravens had a 10-6 lead with less than six minutes left in the fourth quarter against the Titans. "I tell you what, it's getting old," defensive tackle Justin Bannan said. ... Tight end Todd Heap's four catches for 41 yards Sunday exceeded his season totals entering the game (three catches for 37 yards).

HEY, JAMISON!

Each week, Baltimore Sun reporter Jamison Hensley will answer fans' questions about the Ravens. To submit a question, e-mail sports@baltsun.com. Provide your name and phone number so we can verify the e-mail.

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