For a moment, it appeared as if the Baltimore Ravens had pulled off one of the most stunning comeback wins of the season.
Trailing by three points to the Cincinnati Bengals with 45 seconds to play, Joe Flacco dropped back and launched a deep pass toward Steve Smith. The veteran receiver snatched the ball out of the air, Bengals safety George Iloka falling to the turf, and scampered to the end zone for the go-ahead 80-yard touchdown.
According to ESPN.com, Blakeman's crew entered Sunday calling the fewest penalties per game of any officiating team (12, declined and accepted). This was only the crew's second OPI call in eight weeks.
"Things happen. Ultimately, you hope you don't allow plays like that to dictate the determination of a win or loss," Smith said. "So, it happens. I'm not disappointed, not upset, just exhausted and looking forward to the opportunity to play next week."
"I got to admit, offensive pass interference, that's a pretty ballsy call considering the situation," he said. "But we're over it."
The Ravens might have more trouble getting over it if this loss keeps them out of the playoffs. As for the call itself, Smith certainly appeared to grab at Iloka's jersey and push away before the safety fell to the ground. It wasn't egregious contact, but replays show Blakeman had just cause to make the, yes, ballsy call.
UPDATE: Harbaugh told reporters Monday that that he sent the tape of Smith's penalty to the league, calling the play one of the best he's ever seen, per The Baltimore Sun.