The New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens gave us a call that raised questions on just the second drive of the game.
Joe Flacco had nowhere to go with the football. Patriots defensive lineman Trey Flowers got a hold of Flacco, and as he carried the QB and his progress backward, took the ball from Flacco’s hands, appearing to cause a fumble.
Flacco was ruled down because his forward progress was stopped, and because of this, the play was not eligible to be challenged by rule.
Flowers clearly carried Flacco back at least three yards before the ball came loose and he gained possession.
The forward progress rule reads, “The Forward Progress of a runner or airborne receiver is the point at which his advance toward his opponent’s goal ends and is the spot at which the ball is declared dead by rule, irrespective of the runner or receiver being pushed or carried backward by an opponent."
The only time this is not the case is if the player is in a passing posture. Flacco had the ball tucked before Flowers even made contact with him.
As a result, the Ravens kept possession, but the Patriots forced a three-and-out and ended up getting the football anyway.