Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Ravens Commit Repeated Simultaneous Holding Penalties To Run Out Clock On Game's Final Play

The Baltimore Ravens successfully ran out the game’s final 11 seconds on fourth down by committing holding against all nine Bengals who rushed their punter, giving Sam Koch the time to meander around the end zone before finally conceding a meaningless safety.


The plan exploits a rule misapplied earlier this year in the famous CMU-Oklahoma State and Illinois high school playoff games: while a team with the ball on fourth down is effectively the defensive team from the moment the ball is snapped—they are, after all, trying to prevent the opposite team from scoring, the usual definition of “defense”—the “game can’t end on a defensive penalty” rule does not apply to them. That allows a team to commit intentional grounding or, in this case, holding penalties to run out the clock—something not in the spirit of the rules, but something football’s rule-makers have never addressed.


Timothy Burke is formerly Deadspin's Video Director.