Dallas Cowboys

Zuttah’s penalty hurt Ravens beyond repair in 27-17 loss to Cowboys

jchristopher@star-telegram.com

Unnecessary roughness, No. 53. Fifteen-yard penalty from the spot of the foul.

That call had the Baltimore Ravens mumbling when it happened and after the game.

Trailing 17-10 with a first-and-10 at their 36 with 6 minutes leff in the third quarter, Baltimore rookie running back Kenneth Dixon gains 9 yards before being tackled. As the play is ending, center Jeremy Zuttah wipes out safety J.J. Wilcox. Zuttah is flagged for unnecessary roughness and 15 yards.

Three plays later, the Ravens punted.

“There’s a fine line between being aggressive and doing something dumb,” Zuttah said. “He (official) told me that you can’t hit him like that whether the whistle blew or not. So, you’ve just got to kind of change the way you play.”

Wilcox, who was knocked off his feet, did not see the block coming.

“It caught me out of left field, man. I’m just glad I kept my composure,” said Wilcox, who had seven tackles. “I almost lost it, but my teammates did a great of keeping me in the game and for me to give him another chance. That’s the main thing.”

The Ravens would only get two more possessions in the game.

One ended with a 5-yard touchdown catch by Steven Smith Sr., with 8:16 left in the game that made it 24-17.

The other ended at the the Cowboys’ 41 as time expired.

“I was kind of on the field for that, the roughness call, or whatever they ended up calling it,” Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said. “It might not have been the smartest play, but the whistle had not blown. It’s tough in this day and age of football. You know they are probably going to make that call.

“But when you’re playing football, and you’re an offensive lineman, and it’s your nature, it’s tough to say ... play smart. You’re just looking to hit guys, and you don’t necessarily know if the ball is still going up the field or what it’s doing. Those things definitely hurt and it’s tough.”

Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn’t see the play, but was told what happened when he was asked about it.

“That one right there, it sounds like, based on what you guys are saying, that should have never happened. Too much at stake,” Harbaugh said.

The Ravens finished with 12 penalties for 136, but none stood out more than the flag on Zuttah.

“I don’t think about penalties because sometimes people make calls, miss calls. On offense, you can’t play the game expecting a ref to assist you ... We just have to play ball,” said wide receiver Stephen Smith Smith, who had eight catches for 99 yards and one touchdown. “I don’t think anything has to do with the refereeing. They are there to enforce the rules that’s what they do. We just have to play ball and make the plays our coach draws up for us.”

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