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Calls on eligible receivers continue to confound the Ravens

Bruce Arians, John Harbaugh


Eligible receiver calls continue to be a problem for the Ravens.

The Ravens were hopping mad during last season’s playoffs when the Patriots employed a tricky formation that confused the Ravens’ defense about which players were eligible receivers. That was the topic of much discussion this offseason, and you’d think there would be no questions on the Ravens about how the rules on eligible receivers are enforced.

But when the Ravens tried to run their own trick play tonight against the Cardinals, lining up offensive lineman John Urschel as an eligible receiver, and completing a six-yard pass to Urschel, it didn’t work. The Ravens were flagged because the referee said Urschel never reported as an eligible receiver.

That was odd, because the ESPN broadcast clearly showed that Urschel looked at the referee and signaled that he was reporting as an eligible receiver. Although the ref was looking right at Urschel when he made the signal, for some reason the ref missed it, and the Ravens were penalized.

Baltimore’s drive stalled after the penalty, and the Ravens had to settle for a field goal. On the ensuing drive, Chris Johnson had a sensational touchdown run for the Cardinals, who took a 7-3 lead.