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‚ÄĒthey are, after all, trying to prevent the opposite team from scoring, the usual definition of ‚Äúdefense‚ÄĚ‚ÄĒthe ‚Äúgame can‚Äôt end on a defensive penalty‚ÄĚ 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‚ÄĒsomething not in the spirit of the rules, but something football‚Äôs rule-makers have never addressed.