Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil has emerged as a leader this year for the Ravens, and said what many people inside the locker room and who follow the team are probably thinking about the team's rotten spell of luck in close games this year.
Dumervil said the injuries that have forced reserves and in-season free-agent signings to populate the Ravens offense can happen to anyone, but shifted without prompting from the team's injuries to the string of bad calls that have gone against the team.
"I will say one thing — it's the referees, for sure," Dumervil said. "This has been one of the most bizarre seasons that I've seen. For us to not get no holding calls, there's a lot of things that I've felt like we've been taken advantage of, for sure."
Dumervil experienced at least one officiating issue first-hand. He was called for a 15-yard facemask penalty that set up the Jacksonville Jaguars' game-winning field goal on a play that never should have happened because the Jaguars should have been called for a false start. But there are other examples that have helped the Ravens go 4-8 this season.
The first-quarter pass interference call on Ravens wide receiver Daniel Brown, made despite the only contact being incidental, nullified a 52-yard touchdown catch-and-run Sunday in a 15-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Coach John Harbaugh said he hadn't gotten an official ruling from the NFL on that play, but indications were it wasn't the correct call.
"From what I understand, I think they agree that Dan played the play the right way," Harbaugh said.
Brown said the play is "going to hurt for a while, but I've got to move on."
The longest run the Ravens defense allowed all season, a 62-yard gain by Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson, was only possible when the referee didn't determine that Johnson's forward progress was stopped when he was wrapped up and sitting on top of nose tackle Brandon Williams.
Dumervil's purview as a pass rusher, offensive holding penalties, is a real gripe as well. The Ravens have accepted seven holding penalties on opposing offenses, with two declined, leaving their opponents with a league-low nine offensive holding penalties. Only one of those was on a pass play.
"I don't have no reason," Dumervil said. "It's just not going our way this year."
Harbaugh said he talks with vice president of officiating Dean Blandino "a lot," and was asked before Dumervil's comments about full-time officials.
"I'm in favor of that, personally, but that doesn't really matter," Harbaugh said. "That's not an official thing or anything like that. There has been no official kind of conversation at all."