John Harbaugh: Patriots committed deceptive, illegal substitutions
Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said after Saturday's 35-31 loss to the New England Patriots that he felt the four-man offensive line that coach Bill Belichick used in the third quarter was "deceptive" and "illegal."
On the play in question, running back Shane Vereen lined up as an ineligible receiver, but did not tell officials that he was ineligible until right before the snap.
"It's not something that anybody has ever done before," Harbaugh said. "They're an illegal type of a thing and I'm sure that [the league will] make some adjustments and things like that.
"We wanted an opportunity to be able to identify who the eligible players were," Harbaugh explained, "because what they were doing was they would announce the eligible player and Tom would take it to the line right away and snap the ball before [we] even figured out who was lined up where. And that was the deception part of it. It was clearly deception."
Harbaugh also told reporters that the Patriots should have been penalized for those substitutions.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was asked about the complaints about the four-man offensive line after the game:
Brady on complaints about 4 OL in game: "Maybe those guys gotta study the rule book and figure it out."— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) January 11, 2015
New England was down by 14 points twice in the game. It did not lead until Brady's final touchdown pass.
- Sarah Barshop