Cardinals running back Chris Johnson set his team up for a field goal to take a 20-10 lead in the third quarter against the Ravens on Monday night with a 62-yard run. But though he went 62, the Ravens thought he should have been ruled down after only five yards.
Johnson was taken down by Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams five yards beyond the line of scrimmage, but he never hit the ground. Johnson rolled over Williams' stomach, got up and took off for another 57 yards. Several Ravens' defensive players stood around as he kept running, apparently thinking the play was over, as the brief delay before he ran could have been called as forward progress.
Head coach John Harbaugh addressed the play after the 26-18 loss:
"I didn’t get much information [from the referees]. The communication wasn’t very good. I didn’t get much information at all. I got no explanation on that whatsoever that was of any value. Forward progress was stopped. If you hit him in that situation, then you’re going to get fined and penalized. It’s going to be a 15-yard penalty and a fine for player safety. The play, it was three seconds it was stopped for. He declared himself down. He was sitting there, so we shouldn’t have hit him there. It would have been a dangerous play."
Ravens safety Will Hill caught up with Johnson to save a touchdown, but the confusing play still allowed the Cardinals to gain a huge chunk of yardage and push their lead to 10 points at the time.