NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said that referee Ronald Tolbert did not recognize that Ravens guard John Urschel was reporting as an eligible receiver Monday night.
Blandino said Tolbert was distracted, even though Urschel ran onto the field and gave clear hand signals that he was reporting as an eligible receiver. Urschel was looking at Tolbert, and Tolbert was looking toward Urschel. However, Blandino said at the time Urschel reported, Tolbert was correcting a number from a foul on the previous play. That caused Tolbert to be distracted.
When the ball was snapped, quarterback Joe Flacco completed a pass to Urschel, but a penalty was called because Tolbert did recognize Urschel had reported as an eligible receiver,
“You’ll see 64 (Urschel) here, he is signaling to the referee,” Blandino said on NFL Network. “What the referee was actually doing at that moment, he was correcting a number from a foul on the previous play, and he just didn’t recognize (number) 64 signaling to him…We didn’t recognize that he reported, and that’s why the penalty was called.”
So now the Ravens have an explanation. But they still got the penalty. And they still have their sixth loss.