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Blandino: Correct calls on Steve Smith, Andrew Luck

Try as he might, Steve Smith just can't beat the Bengals with late-game, 80-yard touchdowns.

A.J. Green answered Smith's 80-yard score in the season opener, preventing a comeback victory for Baltimore.

Smith's dramatic 80-yard bomb in the final minute at Cincinnati last week was nullified by a controversial offensive pass interference penalty, sending the Ravens to defeat once again.

Dean Blandino, the NFL's vice president of officiating, told NFL Total Access on Tuesday that it was an "interesting play," but Smith's actions did indeed constitute pass interference.

"Pass interference is any act that significantly hinders an eligible player's ability to catch a pass," Blandino explained. "When we look at this replay, you can see Smith put his left hand in the chest of the defender and pushed him down. We do feel that this is the correct call.

"And when you look at it, reverse the roles: If that was a defender pushing a receiver down, I don't think anybody would be questioning the call. The rules are the same to both sides of the ball: That is offensive pass interference."

The Smith penalty wasn't the only call that sparked controversy and confusion in Week 8. An intentional grounding ruling against Andrew Luck resulted in a safety that put the Indianapolis Colts behind by two scores and ultimately blocked any chance of a comeback in the shootout at Pittsburgh.

There was confusion on the telecast as to whether it was Luck's entire body or just his throwing arm that had to be out of the end zone to avoid a safety. Blandino clarified the penalty.

"This was an obvious call," Blandino said. "He has to get the ball in an area where there's an eligible receiver. And when we talk about whether this is a safety or not, you can see his body is in the end zone, and the key is, in order for it not to be a safety, his entire body and the ball must be in the field of play when the ball is released. So this is intentional grounding. It is a safety."

Blandino's explanations might not salve the wounds of bitter Ravens fans, but they should at least help Colts backers understand why Luck's safety wasn't overturned.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Week 8 game. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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