A sloppy call by CBS of a big Ravens win over Miami

Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at The Baltimore Sun.

It was back down to earth Sunday, for Ravens fans have been spoiled this year by the consistently solid work of Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts for CBS Sports this season.

In a word, CBS coverage of the Ravens' resounding 38-6 victory over the Miami Dophins was sloppy. And I am being nice to the broadcast led by Kevin Harlan on play-by-play and Rich Gannon as analyst.


The moment that defined the sloppy call came with 6:36 left in the game.

"Look at Dixon run on second down-and-10 – brought down on the 10," Harlan told viewers after a well-executed running play put the Ravens on the Dolphins' 10 yard line.


The only problem was the runner was Terrance West – not Kenneth Dixon. And what viewers saw seconds after Harlan told them it was Dixon was a fairly tight shot in the middle of the screen of the back of the runner's jersey as he got to his feet. And the jersey said WEST.

Not that the play-by-play man noticed.

As the next play started at 5:59, Harlan said, "First-and-9 at the goal, Dixon to the end zone."

Except Dixon wasn't the runner who scored the touchdown. It was, you guessed it, West.

Harlan did finally correct himself as the replay of the touchdown rolled.

But there were two segments of analysis from Gannon between the two errors and no one corrected the mistake in all that time of two live plays and analysis accompanying two replays. Where were the producers, associate producers, directors? Was anybody awake in the truck or the booth?

In a 38-6 blowout, sure, it is easy to get lax. But when you identify West as Dixon twice, and no one in the entire broadcast corrects it, even though the camera is showing the back of West's jersey repeatedly, that is sloppy, lazy, careless and inept. I'm sorry.

I have other complaints.


Viewers were given multiple replays of Dennis Pitta's fumble at the start of the fourth quarter. But all were from the back or side. None showed him from the front where he was holding the ball, so it was impossible to tell when it left his arms.

Maybe that's a factor of not having enough cameras, or just bad luck, rather than sloppiness. But I had the sense throughout the second half that the production was not at all crisp, particularly when it came to replays.

I also wish CBS would have jumped on the significance of the Pitta story line harder.

To his credit, Harlan did say of Pitta with 3:17 left in the first quarter, "That's Flacco's guy. He's got a real comfort level with him."

And with 2:10 left in the half, Gannon did talk about Pitta's injuries and hip surgeries.

But Pitta's performance Sunday with two TD's in the wake of such devastating injuries, surgery and rehab is a huge and inspirational story line. And I don't think Harlan and Gannon came anywhere near appreciating what it means to Ravens fans to see Pitta triumph over adversity this way. And it does matter to the telecast, because I think it gives the Ravens a huge emotional lift that is important in assessing their play today and possibly in weeks to come as the schedule gets tough.


The producers did show fans a shot of coach John Harbaugh excitedly grabbing Pitta in a gesture of congratulations and joy, but the context of what that image means in Baltimore was missing from the booth.

Weekend Watch


Plan your weekend with our picks for the best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV shows and more. Delivered every Thursday.

On the other hand, Gannon did some really strong work Sunday.

I loved him explaining with 2:10 left in the third quarter what Flacco was doing when he called out at the line of scrimmage what sounded like "two jet, three jet."

He was calling out shifts in blocking schemes for center Jeremy Zuttah.

"It's a line call to Zuttah," Gannon said.

And that came just after he ripped the Dolphins' defensive planning with 3:44 left in the third.


Speaking of their inability to cover Pitta and protect the middle of the field, Gannon said, "They have not had a plan, and they have not made adjustments."

Can't be much plainer than that. I love his aggressive analysis. Maybe he can take some of that energy and use it to light a fire under his partner in the booth the next time Harlan's mind starts to wander late in the game.