Tennessee's take on two controversial calls

January, 10, 2009
1/10/09
10:40
PM ET
 
  Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
  Referee Terry McAulay and his officiating team were at the center of some questionable calls in Baltimore's 13-10 win over Tennessee.

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- To their credit, the Titans did not spend a lot of time in the postgame locker room carping about the officiating.

My blogging colleague Tim Graham covered the pool report that got "explanations" from referee Terry McAulay. But as the two key plays will be debated for a while, here's a review of the plays from the Titans' perspective:

The safety that wasn't?

On third-and-10 from the Titans 1-yard line with 7:39 left in the game, Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco rolled to his right in the back of the end zone and it appeared his foot grazed the back line -- which would have been a safety that cut the Ravens lead to 10-9 and would have given the Titans the ball back in good field position.

"I think my foot wrapped around and came back in bounds," Flacco said, before referring to a famous blooper from a Detroit quarterback this season in a similar scenario. "I almost pulled a Dan Orlovsky. I don't think I was out. The only place I saw it was on the big screen and it's not really zoomed in there. I wasn't out because they didn't call it."

Said Titans strong safety Chris Hope: "It's over now, but from my angle I thought he stepped on the line too. That one or two plays could change the ball game but still we had enough plays on our own that we could have made that would have won the game for us."

Delayed delay of game?

On third-and-2 from the Baltimore 32 with 2:51 remaining, Flacco didn't take the snap until after the play clock had hit zero. He hit tight end Todd Heap down the middle for a 23-yard gain.

Asked if he was aware of the development, Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck said: "No, but the referee should have been aware and that's their job and if they missed that, that's unfortunate. That was a big play, that was a critical down... and they converted. So if it did expire, I wasn't aware, but that's their job to make that call. So if they feel it didn't expire, it didn't expire."

Titans coach Jeff Fisher said he was told the call was not reviewable.

The Titans were hurt by a big personal foul call in their regular-season win in Baltimore, and Fisher said confidently such things would not be an issue Saturday.

Instead the Titans were called for 12 penalties worth 89 yards and a first down. The Titans committed three personal fouls in the game's first 21 minutes.

"I don't think it's a discipline issue," defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. "It was an emotional game, we knew it was going to be, I think there are some personal fouls that could have gone both ways. This is a mature team and we haven't made many mistakes in the past and I don't know that they killed us today."

But Ryan Fowler, a special teamer and backup linebacker, had a little different take.

"Clearly there is a discipline issue," he said. "This game [against the Ravens] I guess has historically had quite a bit of passion and emotion in it. These two teams have some history dating back to even before the millennium. I think any time these teams get together and there is a heightened sense of emotion on top of a playoff game, then, yeah, you're going to have a lot of emotion and what you have to do is really be in check and really be in control of your emotion. Yeah, discipline and emotion were a bit of an issue, you put all that stuff together and that's what happens."

Bulluck said he thought the officials let the Ravens get away with some stuff.

"Also, they let a lot of stuff go as far as the Ravens being extra physical after the snap and throwing fouls on us," Bulluck said. "You don't want to go there. The season's over. I don't want the NFL taking any of my offseason money."

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