Ravens' Harbaugh says punt ruled touchback was ‘greatest punt in the history of football’

Sam Koch tied a career high with five punts inside the 20 in the Ravens’ 23-0 throttling of the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. His coach thinks an errant officiating determination cost Koch a sixth.

On fourth-and-11 from the Ravens’ 48-yard line in the third quarter, Koch launched a punt that landed at the Packers’ 1. Maurice Canady and rookie Tyus Bowser dived to prevent the ball from bouncing into the end zone before another teammate corralled the ball just short of the goal line.

But officials ruled that the punt was a touchback, and a Ravens challenge was denied. On Monday, coach John Harbaugh said he did not get much of an explanation from the officiating crew.

“They said that they couldn’t tell,” he said. “It’s in New York. So it’s hard for the guys on the field to really explain the reasoning. I don’t think they always know.”

Asked whether he agreed that the punt should have been ruled a touchback, Harbaugh said: “I thought it was the greatest punt in the history of football. Seriously. I thought it was the greatest punt in the history of football — or at least the history that I’ve seen. I’ve seen all the punts in the National Football League for the last 20 years, and that’s the best one I’ve ever seen.”

Harbaugh was backed by former Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee, who criticized the call via Twitter.

In a video he posted to his account (@PatMcAfeeShow), McAfee said Koch “has just completed the most perfect punt in the history of the world.” In the same post, he accused the ruling upholding the touchback of “robbing a perfectly executed situation on fourth down.”

End zone

Harbaugh said it appears middle linebacker C.J. Mosley’s ankle injury Sunday is not terribly serious. “Nothing negative,” Harbaugh said of Mosley’s ailment. “Just kind of where he was at. Just a sprain.” … Harbaugh cautioned against trying to glean too much from rookie cornerback Marlon Humphrey lining up for 49 defensive plays compared with a season-low 26 for starter Brandon Carr. It marked the first time this season that Humphrey, who has usually spelled fellow starter Jimmy Smith because the latter has been bothered by an Achilles tendon ailment, had outsnapped Carr, who ranks second on the defense in interceptions with three. “It’s just the way it worked out,” Harbaugh said. “Like I said last night, all three of those guys are considered starters. They’re all going to play probably different amounts in different games depending on how they’re feeling and what's going on. Sometimes it might just be happenstance. It’s nothing to read into.” … Harbaugh said it is impossible to predict how swiftly starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley will be able to return from the concussion that sidelined him Sunday. “It’s different for everybody,” Harbaugh said. “Concussions are what they are. They’re very unique. You’re not going to put a player out there until he’s healed. That’s up to the doctors. I’m sure Ronnie did everything he was told to do. He’ll continue to do that.” … Sunday’s win was the 100th of Harbaugh’s NFL career as a head coach — 90 in the regular season and 10 in the postseason. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs presented a game ball to Harbaugh, who is the franchise’s all-time leader in coaching wins. “I haven’t been given too many game balls over the years. So that was pretty cool,” he said. “For it to be handed to you by Terrell Suggs is a great honor because my respect for him is as high as it can be. It’s just fun. It’s one thing about coaching. I think anybody that’s coached at any level, it kind of keeps you young. When you’re coaching, you’re right there with the guys or girls that you’re coaching. You’re part of it, and to me, that’s the great thing about this business.”

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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