Depending on where you stand on the NFL’s “Tuck Rule,” the Baltimore Ravens either got a fumble recovery they deserved with 2:37 left in the third quarter, or the Denver Broncos were completely jobbed by a rule that should not even be in the rulebook. On the play, and with Denver up 28-21 in their divisional round game with the Ravens, Denver had third-and-10 at their own 46-yard line. Peyton Manning didn’t seem to like what he saw downfield as the pocket collapsed around him, and tried to tuck the ball back in. He lost possession of the ball, and Baltimore defender Paul Kruger came up with it at the Denver 37-yard line. Referee Bill Vinovich’s crew called it a fumble on the field, and it was subject to replay per NFL rules. Of course, the play brought up the “Tuck Rule,” made infamous in the divisional playoff game between the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots in January of 2002. Late in the game, it appeared that Pats quarterback Tom Brady fumbled the ball and Oakland recovered. However, referee Walt Coleman called it an incomplete pass, gave New England possession, and the Pats eventually won the game. The rule has been debated ever since, but it’s in place as it has been since it was incorporated in 1999. From the NFL Rule Book: NFL Rule 3, Section 22, Article 2, Note 2. When [an offensive] player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his arm starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body. Also, if the player has tucked the ball into his body and then loses possession, it is a fumble. “I agree with Vinovich,” FOX Sports analyst and former NFL VP of Officiating Mike Pereira said on Twitter . “Tuck rule states that if player loses possession after he tucks the ball back into his body it’s a fumble. Remember it was called a fumble on the field and there was not enough to reverse it. The key was that he got it all the way back to his body before it was knocked out.” As much as I generally find Pereira’s double talk to be objectionable and superfluous, I think he — and Vinovich — got it right in this case. We’ll have the video soon, but on the play, you can see that Manning tucked the ball into his upper body before fully losing control of the football. Even if it was a borderline play (which it didn’t seem to be), there wasn’t enough on the replay to overturn it, and through Vinovich’s crew had made some pretty brutal decisions in the game, I find it difficult to argue with that one. The fumble really hurt the Broncos. Five plays after Baltimore for the ball back, Ravens running back Ray Rice tied the game up at 28-all with a one-yard touchdown run.
Peyton Manning’s third-quarter fumble brings the Tuck Rule back into the spotlight (Shutdown Corner)
When the Associated Press released their 2012 All-Pro team on Saturday, Denver Broncos wide receiver/return specialist Trindon Holliday did not receive a single vote for the squad’s return specialist position. In response to that snub, Holliday has rewritten a few NFL playoff records. Holliday opened the scoring in Saturday afternoon’s divisional playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens with a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown, setting an NFL record for longest punt return for a touchdown in a playoff game. At the start of the second half, Holliday set another NFL playoff record by returning the kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown, which was the longest kick return for a touchdown in NFL playoff history. [Also: Surprising pick for top NFL cheerleaders ]
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Trindon Holliday runs into NFL record books with 104-yard kick return for touchdown (Shutdown Corner)
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt were unanimous selections for the Associated Press All-Pro team, which was announced Saturday.
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NFL roundup: Peterson, Watt headline All-Pro team (The SportsXchange)
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco may be erratic at times, but when he’s on, there may be no better player in the league when it comes to pure arm talent. Flacco has certainly proven that in the first half of the divisional game between the Ravens and Denver Broncos. As we detailed before, the scoring was fast and furious to start, and one of those touchdowns came with 10:39 left in the first quarter, when receiver Torrey Smith simply ran right by Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey for a 59-yard touchdown. The first quarter ended with a 14-14 tie. Peyton Manning broke that tie with a pretty 14-yard throw to running back Knowshon Moreno with 7:32 left in the second quarter, but Flacco got his own back with Smith’s help. with 43 seconds left in the first half and the ball at the Baltimore 32-yard line, Flacco went up top, and Smith — who was trailed by Bailey in one-on-one coverage — used his speed to outright beat the veteran. To Smith’s credit, this wasn’t about speed — Bailey had inside position, and Smith geared down to get under the ball. Then, at the three-yard line, Smith got vertical and made an amazing leaping batch. From there, running it into the end zone was gravy. Flacco also overshot Smith on a long throw in the first half, so Bailey’s day could be even worse. This is not to bash Bailey — he’s a future Hall-of-Famer, and he’s played very well for the most part this season. But as much as the Broncos have safety help up top, they should seriously consider using it in the second half. Flacco and Smith are in a major groove.
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Joe Flacco and Torrey Smith torch Champ Bailey for two touchdowns in first half of Ravens-Broncos (Shutdown Corner)
DENVER – A look at wild first half in Denver and the Ravens are tied, 21-21. It’s been an entertaining game with a ton of big plays. The Broncos hav…
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Halftime thoughts from Denver
DENVER — The Ravens are tied with the top-seeded Broncos because Torrey Smith continues to beat Denver cornerback Champ Bailey. Smith has scored two…
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Halftime: Ravens’ Torrey Smith takes flight
Justin Tucker kicked a 47-yard field goal 1:42 into the second overtime Saturday to lift the Ravens to a 38-35 victory over the Denver Broncos in the AFC playoffs.
Ravens rally, stun Broncos on Justin Tucker’s FG in double overtime
DENVER (AP) — The Baltimore Ravens rebounded from Trindon Holliday’s 90-yard punt return touchdown, the longest in NFL playoff history, to score two TDs in a 42-second span and tie the Denver Broncos at 14 after one quarter of their AFC divisional showdown Saturday.
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Broncos, Ravens tied at 14 after 1 quarter (The Associated Press)
There have been just two times in NFL playoff history that a first quarter ended with a 14-14 tie until today’s game between the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens. The Broncos started the scoring with a 90-yard punt return from Trindon Holliday, and Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco responded with a perfect rainbow throw to Torrey Smith for a 59-yard touchdown to even things up. Corey Graham then put the Ravens up with a 39-yard pick-six of a Peyton Manning throw that was deflected. Manning, as usual, was undeterred by that bit of bad fortune. The Broncos ate up more than five minutes of clock on a long drive that ended with a wonderful 15-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Stokley. Stokley and Eric Decker set Baltimore’s defense up with the “Levels” concept, forcing different tiers to the coverage. Stokley ran to the right side of the end zone, and brought in Manning’s throw on a nice little pump fade to even things up. [Also: How did Ray Lewis go from murder suspect to NFL royalty? ] Flacco was 6 of 8 for 103 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter, while Manning was 5 of 9 for 69 yards, a touchdown, and a pick. At this rate, we could see one of these teams put a 50-burger up on the other. On January 1, 1967, the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys had a 14-all tie at the end of the first quarter in a game that the Packers won to go on to Super Bowl I. The Packers and Seattle Seahawks had a similar first quarter in January of 2008, before Green Bay went on to beat the stuffing out of Seattle, 42-20.
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Peyton Manning throws perfect pass to Brandon Stokely to bring Broncos-Ravens to 14-14 at end of first quarter (Shutdown Corner)
DENVER (AP) — Denver’s Trindon Holliday has set an NFL playoff record with the 90-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter of Saturday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.
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Holliday’s 90-yard punt return a postseason record (The Associated Press)