Tops on the list will be Goodell’s reigning MVP, Adrian Peterson, who used Twitter, his usual postgame news conference and an interview on KFAN to vent his contempt for the job the officials did throughout Sunday’s game.
“It’s frustrating,” Peterson said. “We come in and we fight so hard. To have to beat a team and the officials, it doesn’t make any sense.”
The Vikings were upset about several calls, but the three that stood out were a replay review of a Toby Gerhart fumble that wasn’t reversed and two late pass interference penalties that were pivotal in a game that saw five touchdowns and five lead changes in the final 2 minutes, 5 seconds.
Another ill-timed penalty saw backup right guard Joe Berger flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct on a peel-back block that negated an 18-yard Cordarrelle Patterson run to the Baltimore 2-yard line. Berger, however, didn’t object to the call after the game.
“There were four plays in there that were big calls that went against us that were very questionable,” fullback Jerome Felton said. “Every single big call in the game went against us.”
The pass interference calls in question came against nickel back Robert Blanton with 5:03 left and linebacker Chad Greenway with 24 seconds left and the Vikings clinging to a 26-22 lead. Both led to touchdowns in the final 2:05. Greenway’s 18-yard penalty set up Joe Flacco’s 9-yard game-winning pass to Marlon Brown three plays later with 4 seconds left.
“Man, there were a lot of things that I thought could be called pass interference more so than that throughout that ballgame,” coach Leslie Frazier said. “For those two calls to happen, it bewildered me. Just very disappointing.”
Greenway said he thought it was Pitta who tripped over his foot during what should have been considered incidental contact. The penalty negated what would have been safety Andrew Sendejo’s second interception of the game.
“I’m still wondering what happened,” Greenway said.
But the most puzzling call of all to the Vikings involved Gerhart’s first-quarter fumble. During the review, even the Ravens assumed the call would be overturned so they kept their defense on the field until the surprising announcement was made.
“I didn’t see enough to overturn the ruling on the field as a fumble,” Morelli told a pool reporter.
Gerhart said he’s never seen both teams that surprised by the result of a replay review.
“I felt like I had both knees down,” Gerhart said. “Obviously, our guys in the booth saw it that way and [Baltimore’s] guys in the booth saw it that way. But the refs saw it differently.”
Perhaps there will be a few Vikings who don’t get in trouble with the league office this week. Defensive end Brian Robison was among the few who held his tongue in check.
“I’m not going to be [in] Roger Goodell’s office,” Robison said. “I’m not paying that fine.”