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Sunday, November 11, 2012
Did the Ravens run up the score?

By Jamison Hensley

BALTIMORE -- The one criticism you could make of the Ravens in their 55-20 win is bad timing.

Holding a 24-point lead (41-17) with under six minutes left in the third quarter, the Ravens raised some eyebrows when they scored a touchdown off a fake field goal. Holder Sam Koch took the snap and ran untouched seven yards to the end zone, much to the surprise of the Raiders and the sellout crowd at M&T Bank Stadium.

Were the Ravens guilty of running up the score? Ravens coach John Harbaugh doesn't think so.

"I wish I could say that we stand up there -- and you guys might roll your eyes at this a little bit -- and you feel like the game is out of hand and we don't need those points," Harbaugh said after the game. "When I'm looking at the clock, and I'm seeing 25 minutes left in the game, a lot of things can happen. Turnovers can happen, people can score quick. So, if they're going to give us an opportunity for four points that we normally wouldn't have, we just feel obligated to take advantage of that."

Was it poor taste for the Ravens to run a trick play at that point? Probably. Did they break some sort of football etiquette? Maybe. But it's not the Ravens' responsibility to show mercy to another team. It's like what they say about touchdown celebrations. If you don't like them, keep the other team out of the end zone.

Raiders coach Dennis Allen didn't seem bothered by the fake field goal.

"It's our job to go out there and stop them," he said.

Harbaugh explained that the fake field goal was his call. The instruction to Koch was for him to run it to the left side if the Raiders overloaded on the right side.

"It was in the game plan all week," Harbaugh said. "They gave us the opportunity, and we called it."

Koch said he was unaware if the Raiders players were upset by the play.

"I was too busy doing high-fives and spiking the ball," he said.