AFC North: Walt Coleman
- Cornerback Lardarius Webb is expected to play in the season opener at Denver, just 11 months after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament. "Lardarius is ready to go. He looks good," coach John Harbaugh said, via The Baltimore Sun. "I just think the guy is amazing in everything he's done. I love him to death. Nobody works harder. He's been great, and he's going to play really well." This is great news for a defense that is getting ready to play Peyton Manning. Webb is the team's best cover corner and he didn't look like he was coming off an injury when he played in the Week 3 preseason game. You still have to wonder if the Ravens are going to keep Webb on a snap count.
- Running back Ray Rice is trying to convince retired linebacker Ray Lewis to come with the team to Denver for the season opener, according to the team's official website. “You might have to make the trip,” Rice told Lewis over text message. “I think the guys, if he’s not going to be working, would embrace seeing him on the sidelines. Not sure how he’ll take it. He’ll probably want to suit up a little bit.” Lewis will be remembered as the best player in Ravens history, but the emphasis here is on history. There will be time to reminisce when Lewis comes back to have his number retired in a couple of weeks. Right now, the Ravens have to keep focused on this game and this season.
- If you thought the endless stories about those Joe Flacco banners hanging in Denver are crazy, you should hear how Flacco responded to a question about them. "Hey, it’s cool. Being hated is not a bad thing," Flacco said, via The Carroll County (Md.) Times, before adding this unexpected twist. “I don’t know if I’ll be too popular for this. I don’t know how I really felt about [Heisman Trophy winner] Johnny Manziel [until recently], but I feel like now everyone hates him. He’s quickly becoming my favorite player in college football.”
- The Ravens have been awarded veteran linebacker Robert James off waivers from the Atlanta Falcons, according to The Sun. This move is about improving special teams. Last season, James was tied for the most tackles on the Falcons' coverage teams with 10.
- According to The Sun, those not practicing for the Ravens on Sunday (which is actually like a Wednesday if there were a Sunday game): defensive tackle Arthur Jones (undisclosed), nose tackle Brandon Williams (undisclosed), wide receiver Deonte Thompson (sprained left foot), center Ryan Jensen (foot) and tight end Dennis Pitta (hip). Outside linebacker Pernell McPhee (knee) returned to practice.
- Walt Coleman is the referee assigned for the Ravens-Broncos game, according to The Press Box. Coleman didn't officiate a Ravens game last year, but he was on the field when the Ravens came back to win at Pittsburgh on Torrey Smith's game-winning catch in 2011.
The referee for Sunday night's game is Walt Coleman. That's the same official from the Ravens-Steelers game three years ago that will be remembered for its controversial finish (well, controversial moreso for the Ravens and their fans).
Let's take a look back ...
In a 2008 game at Baltimore, the Steelers celebrated a 13-9 victory and the division championship on Santonio Holmes' controversial 4-yard touchdown catch with 43 seconds left in the game.
The Ravens actually thought they had held the Steelers out of the end zone for a few minutes. But Coleman overruled the original decision, signaling a touchdown after a replay review.
According to Coleman, the replay showed that Holmes had control of the pass and the ball broke the plane of the goal line -- an opinion not shared by Ravens coach John Harbaugh.
"It didn't look to me like he broke the plane," said Harbaugh, who indicated that he never received an explanation from the officials. "That's what I saw."
Coleman, however, was later vindicated by Mike Pereira, the supervisor of officials at that time. On his weekly show on the NFL Network, Pereira said there was indeed indisputable visual evidence that the ball broke the plane of the goal line when Holmes had control of the ball with both of his feet down.
|Jim McIsaac/Getty Images|
|Referee Walt Colman ruled that the ball broke the plane on this Santonio Holmes game-winning touchdown reception.|
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
BALTIMORE -- In the aftermath of the Pittsburgh Steelers' 13-9 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, our AFC North inbox exploded with tons of e-mail asking for an explanation of the controversial game-winning touchdown by receiver Santonio Holmes.
So here is Sunday night's transcript of NFL referee Walt Coleman, who reversed the call after reviewing the instant replay.
Why was it ruled a touchdown?
Walt Coleman: You have to have two feet down to complete the catch. He had two feet down and completed the catch with control of the ball breaking the plane of the goal line.
So the ball broke the plane in your view?
WC: Yeah, the ball was breaking the plane. He had two feet down. When he gained control of the ball, the ball was breaking the plane and then he fell into the field of play. But to have a touchdown, all you have to have is a catch, which is two feet down, possession and control of the ball breaking the plane.
Why was the original call not ruled a touchdown?
WC: [Paul Weidner] felt like when the receiver gained possession of the ball, the ball was not breaking the plane of the goal line.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin offers his view of the controversial finish and a look ahead to Pittsburgh's next game against the Titans.