Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg seemed to have a sly grin on his face on Thursday as he recalled how his punt team "understood the concept really well" on the final safety against the Bengals.
The concept, of course, was blatant holding, some involving takedowns that would please a wrestling coach. That allowed punter Sam Koch to wander around near the goal line and burn off the final seconds of the game clock before taking a safety for a 19-14 win.
"The guys did a great job," Rosburg said at his Thursday news conference, saying each player was "really impressive and using different techniques with their hold, some around the neck, some hanging on to a leg, some on a shoulder pad, but they all understood the concept really well."
Penalties have been a problem for the Ravens all season, but on this play, they were openly encouraged and embraced. The Ravens Web site even put together a short clip of the best takedowns on the play.
Rosburg, who has been a special teams coach in the NFL for 15 years, said he had no doubt the play would be officiated exactly as it was: Yes, it was a penalty — or, really, about eight of them — but since they occurred in the field of play and not in the end zone, the game would not be extended. Clock at 0:00, game over.
Rosburg said that after the play, as the officials huddled and discussed it, "Guys kept asking me on the sideline, but I was confident they’d get it right."
The next day, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino told NFL Network that the Ravens found "kind of a loophole" in using intentional holding, and said, "I think you'll see the Competition Committee review this."
The Competition Committee addresses potential rules changes.
For his part, Rosburg said the Ravens simply played by the rules.
"The rule is what it is now, and we just played it that way," Rosburg said. "It’s up to them. If they change the rule, then we’ll do something different.”