Zut­tah’s three penal­ties hurt, the last most of all

WR Smith gets land­mark 1,000th ca­reer catch, says he’d trade it for a vic­tory

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS - By Jeff Zre­biec jeff.zre­biec@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/jef­fzre­biec­sun

ARLINGTON, TEXAS— Cen­ter Jeremy Zut­tah prob­a­bly de­liv­ered the hard­est hit all game, but it was a costly one for the Ravens in their 27-17 loss to the Dal­las Cow­boys on Sun­day. Zut­tah’s un­nec­es­sary­rough­ness call stalled an im­por­tant thirdquar­ter drive and was one of his three penal­ties on the af­ter­noon.

Zut­tah cer­tainly got his money’s worth, slam­ming Cow­boys safety J.J. Wil­cox to the turf dur­ing rookie Ken­neth Dixon’s 9-yard run. Even though the play hadn’t been blown dead and Dixon was be­ing gang-tack­led near the Dal­las side­line, the ref­er­ees still flagged Zut­tah.

“The league is kind of chang­ing at this point,” Zut­tah said. “The run­ning back is fight­ing for yards and I’m try­ing to help him out. Just cer­tain sit­u­a­tions, you’ve got to toe the line. There’s a fine line be­tween be­ing ag­gres­sive and do­ing some­thing bone­headed. He told me you can’t hit him like that whether the whis­tle blew or not, so you just kind of got to change the way you play.”

Ravens coach John Har­baugh was hes­i­tant to com­ment on the penalty be­cause he said he didn’t get a good look at it, but he ac­knowl­edged “that penalty hurt us.” In­stead of hav­ing a sec­ond-and-1 at the 45-yard line, the Ravens had a sec­on­dand-16 at their 30. Three plays later, they punted and the Cow­boys scored a touch­down on the en­su­ing drive to take a 24-10 lead.

“It might not have been the smartest play, but the whis­tle had not blown,” Ravens quar­ter­back Joe Flacco said, de­fend­ing his cen­ter. “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 just don’t nec­es­sar­ily know if the ball is still go­ing up field or what it’s do­ing.”

Zut­tah also was called for two hold­ing penal­ties in the sec­ond quar­ter. The first one wiped out Kyle Juszczyk’s 14-yard re­cep­tion, and the sec­ond one forced the Ravens into a third-and-14. Two plays later, Justin Tucker kicked a 46-yard field goal. Over­all, the Ravens drew12 penal­ties for 136 yards. Ravens wide re­ceiver Steve Smith Sr. cel­e­brates his fourth-quar­ter touch­down re­cep­tion Sun­day. Dur­ing the third quar­ter, Smith caught his 1,000th ca­reer pass.

“On the [Juszczyk] one, the guy falls. The refs, they got a tough job. If they see some­one fall, they think you slung him or what­ever,” Zut­tah said. “And then the other one, the quar­ter­back scram­bles, I thought I let go but if they called it, it’s just too close. You’ve got to learn from it and move on.” Smith gets mile­stone: Ravens wide re­ceiver Steve Smith Sr. might some­day look back on his 1,000th ca­reer catch and revel in an achieve­ment that just 13 other NFL re­ceivers have en­joyed. But he was cer­tainly in no mood to do it af­ter a Ravens’ loss.

“Bit­ter­sweet, I guess. You want to win,” Smith said. “I’d give all that back to win, to be hon­est.”

Smith caught his 1,000th pass on the Ravens’ first play from scrim­mage in the third quar­ter, catch­ing a 22-yard pass from Flacco in the mid­dle of the field. Smith led the Ravens with eight catches for 99 yards and a touch­down and fin­ished the game with 1,005 ca­reer catches.

“Leg­endary player. I was just telling him af­ter the game, ‘You can play a cou­ple of more years if you want to. Let’s just keep it go­ing.’ I think he’s go­ing to prob­a­bly [re­tire] af­ter this year be­cause he’s been play­ing 16 years. That’s a long time,” Ravens wide re­ceiver Mike Wal­lace said. “But if any­body can keep play­ing, it’s him. It’s just an honor to be on the team with him ev­ery day, to see the way he works, the way he car­ries him­self. I just love it. I love that guy to death. I wish I had more time with him, but when you have great­ness around you, you just ab­sorb what­ever you can get from him.”

Af­ter the catch, Smith threw the ball to the Ravens’ side­line for safe­keep­ing. Smith is the first player in NFL his­tory to have 1,000-plus catches, 1,000-plus punt re­turn yards and 2,000-plus kick­off re­turn yards. Judon makes key mis­take: Smith’s 5-yard touch­down re­cep­tion about mid­way through the fourth quar­ter had cut the Cow­boys’ lead to seven and given the visi­tors some hope. The Ravens tack­led Lance Dun­bar on the en­su­ing kick­off at the Cow­boys 10, but rookie Matthew Judon was off­side on Tucker’s kick­off.

The Ravens had to kick again, and the touch­back al­lowed the Cow­boys to start on the 25, mean­ing Judon’s penalty cost the Ravens 15 yards.

“That’s a rookie,” Har­baugh said. “You’ve got to be smart, you’ve got to un­der­stand. That’s a rookie who doesn’t know, yet. I guess he’s the kind of guy that has to learn the hard way. I’m that kind of guy, too, some­times.” New look for Yanda: The Ravens had a dif­fer­ent of­fen­sive line com­bi­na­tion for a sev­enth straight game. That was ex­pected with rookie Alex Lewis out be­cause of an an­kle in­jury, but the Ravens added a new wrin­kle. The usual starter at right guard, Mar­shal Yanda, played left guard against the Cow­boys, leav­ing Vladimir Du­casse at the right guard spot.

The move was made to help Yanda, who had missed three of the pre­vi­ous four games with a sig­nif­i­cant shoul­der in­jury.

“It had to do with Mar­shal, as far as his in­jury and what was best for Mar­shal and where he could play the best,” Har­baugh said. “It was Mar­shal’s idea, and it works out re­ally well for us. I thought Mar­shal played re­ally well.” End zone: Of­fen­sive line­man Ryan Jensen and cor­ner­back Asa Jack­son were the Ravens’ only healthy in­ac­tives. The other five — Lewis, run­ning back Lorenzo Tali­a­ferro (thigh), tight end Crock­ett Gill­more (thigh), line­backer Elvis Dumervil (foot) and cor­ner­back Jimmy Smith (back) — were all deal­ing with in­juries. Not only was Ravens wide re­ceiver Bre­shad Per­ri­man held with­out a catch for the first time this sea­son, he wasn’t even tar­geted. … Play­ing about 15 min­utes from where starred at DeSoto High, Ravens weak-side line­backer Zachary Orr had a team­lead­ing11­tack­les. … The Cow­boys were held score­less in the first quar­ter for just the sec­ond time all sea­son and punted on three con­sec­u­tive pos­ses­sions for the first time all sea­son. … Swim­mer and Ravens fan Michael Phelps was on the team’s side­line dur­ing warm-ups. … De­spite it be­ing 57 de­grees at kick­off, the roof at AT&T Sta­dium re­mained closed for the game. Many Ravens fans made the trip and the “O” dur­ing the na­tional an­them was eas­ily the loud­est for one of the team’s road games all sea­son.

KARL MER­TON FERRON/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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