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Another controversial call by officials draws criticism
In the Patriots - Ravens AFC Championship game, the officials made a huge call that impacted the outcome of the game. It was a controversial call that didn't hold up well under criticism after the game.
The officials ruled that Patriots RB Steven Ridley had fumbled the ball after sustaining a severe helmet-to-helmet hit by Ravens defender Bernard Pollard. The ball came loose as Ridley hit the ground. The only issue was Ridley was firmly planted on the ground with his behind when his arm knocked the ball out on his knee. The NFL official attempted to address the ruling of a fumble as upheld via replay.
Bill Leavy: “What I saw was the receiver was going to the ground, had both legs off the ground, no body part was on the ground. The ball hit his knee and dislodged from his hand before the rest of his body hit the ground, therefore it was a fumble and we confirmed it.”
Video replay ( http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-game-highlights/0ap2000000128926/Ridley-fumbles-after-big-hit ) tends to indicate otherwise. You can see that Ridley was seated on the ground with his behind -- a part of the body that would automatically qualify the runner as being down -- yet his loss of the ball after contact at that point was ruled a turnover.
"It's just a tackle. It's football," Pollard said. "He broke a hole, and we filled. That's fine. That's football."
Ridley did not return to the game after the hit.
One play does not decide the outcome of a game -- unless you're Green Bay and it's a replacement officials call in the end zone. But this one play turned the game in the Championship. The Patriots were driving to close the gap of the game in the fourth quarter and the turnover killed their chances for a comeback.
It's the third time Pollard hit a Patriots' player and knocked him out of the game. His low hit on Tom Brady ended Brady's 2008 season. His tackle on Wes Welker ended his season in 2010. and his hit on Ridley ended his game/ Season in 2012.
Pollard isn't about to apologize for making a tough hit, but NFL officials need to review their review process, because an apology is probably what they're going to determine is necessary.
Leavy may say he saw the runner down, but video replay tends to indicate otherwise.