“Sunday Night Football” is no stranger to some of the week’s biggest moments. In the first quarter of an AFC North clash between the Browns and Ravens, it delivered one of the most bizarre.
The Ravens thought they had picked up a first down on a fake punt, but the official ruled they snapped the ball before it was ready. They then tried to run a play to convert on the fourth down, but the Browns had too many players on the field and called a timeout. Following the timeout, the Ravens went to run a play again, and this time, received the first down because the Browns again sent 12 players onto the field, and this time were unaware.
Baltimore began its drive from its own 25 with 4:02 left in the first, but wasn’t able to move up far enough, instead seeming to end its drive at its own 33-yard line. However, instead of punting, they had a direct snap to Anthony Levine, who rushed ahead and appeared to have the first down.
But the officials ruled that the play went off before the ball was set.
Resolute to try for it on fourth down, the Ravens sent the offense back out and started to run a play, but a whistle and a flag came out. The Browns were reshufflling trying to move the defense back out and the special teams unit out, and, according to the officials, called a timeout before the play went off.
But then, even after all that, the Browns again sent 12 men onto the field. As soon as the Ravens began to run their play, the flag came out, the Browns were assessed the penalty and the Ravens were granted the first down. They ended their drive with a field goal with 28 seconds left in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead.
To make matters worse, the Browns had a penalty on the ensuing kickoff when they only had 10 players on the field for the return, and the 11th did not enter the proper zone. The Ravens declined the penalty.