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John Harbaugh: 'Players should be determining the outcome'

12/1/2014

The Baltimore Ravens' 34-33 loss to San Diego caused some to wonder whether the officials cost the Ravens another game with a flag late in the fourth quarter.

A month ago, the Ravens fell to the Cincinnati Bengals after wide receiver Steve Smith was called for offensive pass interference, which overturned the go-ahead 80-yard touchdown with 32 seconds remaining. On Sunday, the Ravens allowed the winning touchdown one play after cornerback Anthony Levine was flagged for a pass interference penalty in the end zone with 46 seconds left.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh contends Levine was not given a chance to defend the pass and it was "not fair" to penalize him for trying to make a play on the ball.

"Players should be the guys determining the outcome of the game in a situation like that, without question," Harbaugh said after the game.

It was the first time that Levine was penalized in his three starts at cornerback this season.

"I was trying to knock the ball away," Levine said. "I was trying to knock the ball down and just trying not to lose him. The ball was up in the air, I went for it. I saw the ball, [and] I went for the ball. I wasn’t even playing him anymore -- I played the ball. [The referee] made the call, [and] I’ve got to learn from it."

Former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira, who now works for Fox Sports, believes there is no controversy with the call: "Just now seeing the DPI in Baltimore -- that's about as clear interference as can be."

Just like he did in Cincinnati, Terrell Suggs questioned the timing of the flag more than the penalty itself.

"It’s a gutsy call to call in such a tight game with so much at stake," he said. "You don’t want to end the game on that play, but like I said, we know better than that. We know better than to leave it in the hands of the refs. We have to finish games, we have to compete, and we have to play better."

It’s difficult for the Ravens to complain about the officiating when looking at the entire game. The Ravens benefited from three pass interference penalties on the Chargers for a total of 56 yards. Each of those flags moved the Ravens into the red zone, where they converted them into 13 points.