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NFL says Ravens were not offside on blocked field goal

Shareece Wright, John Harbaugh

AP

Another Monday night, another controversial call from the officials. But this time the NFL says the officials were right.

On the last play of Monday night’s game in Cleveland, the Ravens blocked the Browns’ field goal attempt and returned it for a touchdown. It looked like a great play by the Ravens and another rough break for the Browns, but by Tuesday morning, fans and members of the media were asking whether it was actually a blown call: Ravens defensive back Anthony Levine may have had his hand in the neutral zone at the snap.

However, the league office tells PFT that the play has been reviewed, and the officials got it right. Although Levine’s hand was over the line of scrimmage superimposed on the ESPN broadcast, that line is not official, and the league says Levine got back behind the actual line of scrimmage.

“The ball was spotted at the 33-and-a-half yard line for the kick,” NFL spokesman Michael Signora told PFT via email. “The center moves the ball up slightly to get in position for the snap. The black line you see, which television uses to denote the line of scrimmage, appears to be at the 33, not the 33-and-a-half. So when the ball is snapped, the defensive player is not at the 33-and-a-half yard-line and he appears to be in a legal position.”

The NFL also said Ravens defensive back Will Hill did not step out of bounds on his touchdown return, contrary to some images suggesting that he might have.

This season has been full of missed calls by the officials, and Monday Night Football has been particularly affected by. We’ve already had an official miss an illegal bat on the Seahawks in the final moments of a win over the Lions, and an official miss a mistake by the clock operator late in the Steelers’ comeback win over the Chargers. The NFL admitted those two mistakes but says that on this Monday night in Cleveland, the officials properly called the final play.