By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
2:47 PM EST, December 13, 2012
It was the play where virtually everything went wrong for the Ravens' punt team.
During a 31-28 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday at FedEx Field, punter Sam Koch outbooted his coverage on a 56-yarder that didn't angle far enough toward the sideline.
The Redskins' Richard Crawford dodged Anthony Allen, faking him off his feet, outran overpursuit from Josh Bynes and others, and long snapper Morgan Cox was clearly blocked in the back with no call made before Koch finally hauled Crawford after a 64-yard return.
"Much like all special-teams plays, good and bad, it was a combination of factors that led to that particular play," Ravens special-teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. "Our coverage broke down in a number of areas. We have layers of coverage and it broke down in the first layer, it broke down in the second layer and it broke down in the third layer and then Sam prevented the touchdown. It was no one thing that caused our problem. We missed a tackle. We lost leverage on the ball. It was a number of things."
The untimely breakdown set up the Redskins' game-winning field goal.
It marked an aberration to what's otherwise been a resurgent season for the Ravens' special teams after they allowed three returns for touchdowns last season.
"I think that lesson had been learned a long time ago," Rosburg said. "Our guys are very proud of how they cover kicks. It's something that stung everybody in that unit. Everybody saw what happened and everybody took that on their own shoulders to make sure it doesn't happen again. We didn't make the play and that was just one of those situations where the opponent did a better job than us."
Due to the Ravens' multitude of injuries on defense, Pro Bowl special teams ace Corey Graham is no longer on the punt team where he has excelled as a gunner.
"Corey is doing a great job with our defense," Rosburg said. "I think everyone has come to realize that one of the top special teams players iin the league is a top special-teams player for a reason. He's not only a good football player, he's also a tremendous athlete he can compete against the best wide receivers in the NFL and play corner at a very high level.
"That, to me, speaks to why Corey has been such a good special-teams player over the years. He's expanded his role on our team. He's doing a great job for our defense. At what point, he comes back and has a bigger role for special teams, I don't know, but we look forward to having him plaiy for the Ravens for a long time and doing whatever he can to help us win."
Rosburg was impressed with Koch's touchdown-saving tackle. Koch was a fullback and linebacker in high school growing up in Nebraska.
"Yeah, you don't see that very often," Rosburg said. "It tells you what kind of player Sam is. All those people back in Nebraska that used to watch eight-man football know sam quite well."
As for the illegal block on Cox that wasn't called, Rosburg said the NFL has been informed of the Ravens' opinion about the play.
"We turned in a number of plays," he said. "That was one of them we turned in, yes."