Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - The regular referees returned to game action
on Thursday and nearly played an integral role in the outcome of the
Baltimore Ravens' 23-16 victory over the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium.
After the controversial ruling that decided Monday's game between the Green
Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, the league and the referees' union agreed to
terms on a new collective bargaining agreement late Wednesday night, bringing
regular referees back to the field to officiate all Week 4 games.
With Cleveland trailing by seven and just over a minute left, the Browns got
the ball at their own 10-yard line and Brandon Weeden completed a pair of
passes to move his squad to midfield.
Weeden then hit Benjamin Watson for 17 yards down to the Baltimore 33 before
spiking the ball to stop the clock with 23 seconds remaining.
After back-to-back incompletions, Weeden threw a Hail Mary pass into the
corner of the end zone that was knocked away, but the referees called an
unnecessary roughness penalty on Paul Kruger, who appeared to shove Browns
offensive lineman Joe Thomas after the play.
Cleveland was unable to take advantage of the call however, as Weeden's
desperation heave sailed out of back of the end zone, sending the Browns to
their ninth straight defeat against the Ravens.
Weeden finished 25-of-52 passing for 320 yards and an interception and Trent
Richardson carried the ball 14 times for 47 yards and a score for the Browns
(0-4), who remain the lone winless team in the AFC.
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco was an efficient 28-of-46 for 356 yards, a
touchdown pass and an interception, while Ray Rice rushed 18 times for 49
yards and added eight catches for 47 yards, as the Ravens (3-1) won their 13th
consecutive home game, which is the longest current home winning streak in the
Torrey Smith added six catches for 97 yards and a score and Anquan Boldin led
the receiving corps with nine receptions for 131 yards.
The Sports Network