Ravens can admit the truth after game-changing play overturned

BALTIMORE – There was one play in the Chargers’ 23-17 wild-card win over the Ravens that looked like it might completely turn the tide of the game, which the Chargers had dominated for the first three quarters.

With Baltimore trailing 12-3 at the start of the fourth quarter, Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, on a third-and-goal from the 1-yard line, ran off tackle for what he thought was a touchdown.

As he lunged toward the goal line, Gordon lost control of the ball, which was picked up by Ravens safety Marlon Humphrey in the end zone and returned 102 yards for what the Ravens thought was a touchdown.

There was no signal for a Gordon TD from the referee, nor was there one when Humphrey crossed the opposite goal line.

After a conference among the officiating crew and a look at the replay, it was determined Gordon’s knee was down before he crossed the plane of the goal line, leaving the Chargers with a fourth-and-goal from the Baltimore 1-yard line.

One play later, Gordon scored a TD and, with the two-point conversion, made it 20-3 Chargers. Had the Humphrey TD counted, it would have cut the deficit to 12-10.

After it was over, though, no one from the Ravens complained about a bad call.

“It was the right call,’’ Humphrey said afterward.

“I knew he was down,’’ said Ravens safety Eric Weddle, who used to play for the Chargers. “I hit him, and once I saw the replay I knew the ref was going to overturn it.”

Asked if he thought the ball had jarred loose from Gordon’s grip, Weddle said, “No. We knew. If you thought it was out, it was not.”

Once the officiating crew watched the replay and sorted it out, it was determined Gordon was down by contact at the Baltimore 1, leaving the Chargers with a fourth-and-goal.

Rather than settle for a field goal and a 15-3 lead, the Chargers went for the touchdown on the next play, again giving it to Gordon on the same play, and he scored. After a successful two-point conversion pass from Philip Rivers to Mike Williams, the Chargers had a 20-3 lead with 14:58 remaining in the game.

“They ran the same exact play,” Weddle said. “It’s unfortunate that we didn’t play the play better when we knew that play was coming.”

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