The Baltimore Ravens won a miracle finish at Ford Field in Week 3, stunning the Detroit Lions when Justin Tucker successfully kicked a 66-yard field goal as time expired. It was the longest field goal in NFL history and just barely made it in, bouncing off the crossbar and into the net.
The Ravens benefited from a friendly touch on the kick, but they also benefited from a missed call by the referees. The immediate play prior to the field goal, the center did not snap the ball to Lamar Jackson until a good second after the play clock expired.
Sometimes the NFL forgets what rules are pic.twitter.com/24453JpAvU— AAM (@GeneralReaction) September 26, 2021
The Ravens had picked up 36 yards two plays prior to get to the Lions 48 and Jackson spiked the ball to stop the clock. The Ravens wanted to attempt one quick pass to the sideline to gain a few more yards. The snap was slow happening but a flag was not thrown.
Following the game, game referee Scott Novak spoke to a pool reporter and offered an explanation of the situation, per the Detroit Free Press.
After the game, game referee Scott Novak spoke with the pool reporter at Ford Field after the game, and said “(i)f the ball is being snapped, we will let the play go. If it’s not moving, it’s delay of game. Those are the mechanics that we apply on that play.”
As the Free Press noted, CBS rules analyst Gene Steratore said that the back judge is responsible for looking at the play clock and when it hits zero, the back judge will take their eyes from the play clock to the play. That does leave a brief moment extra, but anybody watching — well, maybe not Ravens fans — would think this was much longer than the split second it takes to move one’s eyes from the play clock to the snap.
Nothing will be changed on this, with at most the NFL offering an apology for the missed play. The Lions drop to 0-3, the Ravens improve to 2-1, and Lions fans are left pulling their hair out.