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Turn off lights, turn on water, NFL games go on


Turn off lights, turn on water, NFL games go on

NEW YORK (AP) You can turn off the lights, turn on the water, or fire up the snow plow. No matter what, the NFL show goes on.

Of course, disruptions may be cause for concern (blackouts). Or comic relief (sprinklers). Or confusion (bad calls). Right or wrong it all gets sorted out and the games proceed to a conclusion.

So, after a computer glitch in Miami on Sunday caused stadium sprinklers to douse Seahawks and Dolphins players and delay the game for a minute or two, we feel compelled to put forth a Pick 6 on inadvertent delays of game.

One game, however, merits special attention because it did not hold up the game, just the outcome: Seahawks 14, Packers 12 on Sept. 24.

It took replacement officials approximately 3 minutes, 15 seconds (by our stopwatch) to rule that Russell Wilson's 24-yard last-play heave into the end zone was a winning TD pass to Golden Tate, not an interception by M.D. Jennings. But even after so much confusion and controversy, the officials missed another call on the same play - offensive pass interference against Tate that would have negated the TD and given the Packers the win.

And now, without further delay, our Pick 6:

All Washed Up (Dolphins 24, Seahawks 21, Nov. 25)

With the sprinkler system erroneously working on a Saturday schedule, water came spraying out between plays during the third quarter. The crowd cheered, the game was held up briefly, the players smiled and toweled off, and Miami went on for a 24-21 win.

Dolphins running back Reggie Bush said it reminded him of the ``old 18th hole trick where you send a rookie out there at 9 p.m. and the sprinklers come on.''

Turn out the lights (49ers 20, Steelers 3, Dec. 19, 2011)

A much-anticipated game at Candlestick Park took a little longer to get going when the stadium went dark twice - just before kickoff and early in the second quarter.

With the 49ers hosting the Steelers in a game of playoff-bound teams, the lights went out about 25 minutes before the start of the Monday night game, delaying the opening kickoff by 20 minutes.

Thousands of flashbulbs went off as a sellout crowd of 69,732 sat in darkness (waiting for backup generators to kick in). The second delay came early in the second quarter and held up play about 15 minutes. No hitches followed and the 49ers went on to win.

Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who didn't travel with the team because he was serving a suspension for an illegal hit, wrote on his Twitter account: ``If I cant play then can't nobody play... Lights out!''

Run away squirrel, run away! (Ravens 24, Browns 10, Dec. 4, 2011)

With the Browns getting hammered and the fans in a foul mood, a squirrel had people cheering wildly for a few minutes during the third quarter. Somehow, the squirrel got into the stadium, started out in one end zone and went on a 100-yard scamper into the other end zone. The jolly jaunt started up the sideline, and stopped as the squirrel paused a few seconds after 30 yards. The critter continued on its merry way, broke into the open field, weaved back near the sideline and finally crossed the goal line. All the while, Ravens and Browns players were on the field preparing for a Baltimore kickoff. What's a few minutes of delay when you get a chance to watch a squirrel take it to the house?

Bottlegate (Jaguars 15, Browns 10, Dec. 16, 2001)

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue needed to intervene in this ugly affair that caused a 30-minute delay because of bottle-throwing fans. The Browns were driving for the potential winning TD late in the game, moving toward the notorious Dawg Pound section of the Browns' stadium. Receiver Quincy Morgan caught a fourth-and-1 pass for a first down. Quarterback Tim Couch then spiked the ball on the next play to stop the clock. But referee Terry McAulay announced well after the spike that Morgan's catch was going to be reviewed. (NFL rules state that after another play is run the previous play is not reviewable, but the explanation was the referee did not react quickly enough.) Upon review, it was determined a noncatch and the Jaguars were awarded the ball. That's when plastic beer bottles and other objects came flying out of the stands, striking players and officials. McAulay declared the game over and sent the teams to their locker rooms. But Tagliabue called the game supervisor and ordered him to override the decision, sending the players back on the field. The Jags ran out the last seconds with debris still flying from the stands.

The Fog Bowl (Bears 20, Eagles 12, Dec. 31, 1988)

A heavy, dense fog rolled over Chicago's Soldier Field during the second quarter of this NFC divisional playoff game, cutting visibility to about 15-20 yards for the rest of the game. The Bears led 17-9 as the fog became so thick that players complained they couldn't see the sideline and yard markers, and fans, TV and radio announcers had trouble seeing what was happening. Referee Jim Tunney wound up announcing the down and distance on his wireless microphone.

Snow plow to the rescue (Patriots 3, Dolphins 0, Dec. 12, 1982)

One of the classic moments in NFL history occurred when a snow plow came onto the field at Schaefer Stadium, cleared out an area that allowed John Smith to kick a 33-yard field with 4:45 left to give the Patriots the win. Because of the heavy snowfall, officials were allowed to call timeouts to allow a crew to use the plow and clear the yard markers. Turns out that Patriots coach Ron Meyer had ordered the driver, Mark Henderson (a convict on work release), to veer off course to clear a spot for the kick. A few extra seconds were all that was needed to determine the outcome in this one. After the incident, the use of snow plows during games was banned.


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Versatile Anthony Levine helps others on Ravens roster bubble

Versatile Anthony Levine helps others on Ravens roster bubble

As the Ravens face the painful task of whittling the roster to the 53-man limit by Saturday afternoon, Anthony Levine's versatility is a huge bonus.

Levine, a safety by trade, has spent a lot of time this training camp working as a linebacker, or more accurately a dime back, lining up in a linebacker spot in passing situations. And, as he showed in 2014, he can also play cornerback in a pinch. He's also one of the Ravens top special teams players. In short, he essentially fills two or three roster spots by himself.

That will come in very handy when Ozzie Newsome and Co. are trying to fill out the final two or three lines on the 53-man roster. The Ravens might be able to keep an extra receiver or an extra lineman knowing they essentially have an extra safety and an extra corner and an extra linebacker in Levine.

"It's valuable, a trick of the trade, but I just go out and play football wherever my coaches need me to go," Levine said last week. " 'Anthony, we need you to play here this week.' 'Yes sir.' "

Levine has been one of the Ravens top playmakers this preseason -- his two-point interception return of a two-point conversion attempt proved to be the deciding points in the Ravens' 19-18 win over the Colts in Week 2. He had a leaping interception and a sack in the win over Detroit this past week.

Those kind of plays, and his work as one of the Ravens top special teamers for three years running, will certainly land Levine on the 53-man roster on Saturday.

But as someone who went undrafted out of Tennessee State, then was twice cut by the Packers, and spent most of his six previous training camps on NFL roster bubbles, Levine takes nothing for granted.

"I have been the guy that has been on the bubble my whole career," Levine said earlier this week. "Every year I come in, I have to make the team. This year, I have to come in and make the team. I’m not sitting up here like, ‘Oh, I made the 53-man roster.’ I still have to prove myself every year.

"It is not about what you did last year; it is about what you are going to do this year. Every year, you have to come out and show them that you still have it.”

MORE RAVENS: A healthy Perriman has big play potential

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Fantasy Football Stock Watch: Who's trending up, down

Fantasy Football Stock Watch: Who's trending up, down

The biggest advancement in fantasy football over the last 20 years isn't Points Per Reception (PPR) formats or the torturous ways leagues punish last place finishers.

Not to sound like Wilfred Brimley (though such a reference in 2016 automatically makes one sound old), but back in the day may owners arrived at their draft with some magazine in hand that hit newstands weeks prior. That meant what was inside was outdated when it came to injuries, depth chart changes or simply the eye test. 

LOOK: 10 Players Trending Up and Down

Now, owners are armed with up-to-the-minute information* accessible in every conceivable way. No longer do you have to seek out the information team-by-team or head to your local library hoping for gold in out-of-town newspapers. 

[*Frankly there's now too much information available on live draft sites for those who really view fantasy football as competition. Even the least prepared are basically handed a cheat sheet that says, "It's round 3 and you need a running back. Take LeSean McCoy. That's why the auction, which is always more fun yet flawed with it's unpredictable pricing, is probably the best option in all scenarios these days. Anyway...]

Here's a look at 10 players whose values have shifted in recent weeks, for better or worse.

By the way, DeSean Jackson didn't make the list, though he probably should considering most downplayed his 2016 status at the start of training camp. The Redskins wide receiver has been a force in training camp and that play translated into an impressive performance in last week's preseason game. For me, Jackson is a top-20 receiver in standard formats, though note I'm much higher on the playmaker than most and have been, which is why his stock isn't on the rise in my eyes.

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Ravens hope a healthy Breshad Perriman will make offense more explosive

Ravens hope a healthy Breshad Perriman will make offense more explosive

Will a healthy Breshad Perriman make the Ravens more explosive?

That’s the impact the Ravens hope Perriman will have. In 2015, the Ravens tied for 25th in the NFL in big plays – running plays longer than 10 yards, and passing plays longer than 25 yards. After missing his entire rookie season with a knee injury, Perriman is expected to make his NFL debut in Thursday night’s preseason game against the Saints.

Perriman’s speed is a large part of what makes his potential so intriguing. The Ravens didn’t have enough speed a wide receiver in 2015. Opposing safeties felt comfortable creeping toward the line of scrimmage, which hurt the Ravens’ running game, as well as the passing attack.

That’s why the Ravens signed wide receiver Mike Wallace during free agency. That’s why they drafted wide receiver Chris Moore. And that’s why they are so eager to see Perriman add his speed to the mix. Wallace, Perriman, and Moore give quarterback Joe Flacco three deep threats he didn’t have last year.

There’s nothing wrong with long, methodical drives, but they are hard to execute. A turnover, a penalty, or any kind of negative play can derail a potential scoring drive.

But if opponents are more fearful of yielding big plays to the Ravens, it will change the way they are defended. Safeties will think twice about crowding the line of scrimmage against the Ravens. Perriman, Wallace, and Moore have the potential not only to make big plays, but to draw attention that can create opportunities for the entire offense.

Expecting too much from Perriman could be dangerous, considering he missed an entire season, along with practice reps that could have accelerated his development. However, Perriman still has speed.

If his presence helps the Ravens create more big plays consistently in 2016, it will make a huge difference in their offense.

MORE RAVENS: Hyped Perriman: 'I'm ready to go'