You'd think NFL players would learn after guys like DeSean Jackson and Leon Lett were denied easy touchdowns as the result of premature celebration, but Denver Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan found himself equally humiliated on Thursday night -- bereft of a sure score because he decided to be a wiseacre. On their first drive of the fourth quarter, the Ravens had fourth-and-1 from their own 29, and quarterback Joe Flacco threw a quick pass toward running back Ray Rice. Trevathan admirably jumped the route for an interception and had clear sailing to the end zone. However, he dropped the ball without provocation before it crossed the plane of the end zone, and the ball eventually rolled out of the end zone for a touchback. The net result of the play: A nine-yard loss for the Ravens, but a new set of downs. Of course, the Ravens drove 80 yards for a touchdown, because karma is a thing that exists.
Trevathan was lucky in that his blunder eliminated what would have been a 49-17 blowout, and became a 42-24 contest after Baltimore's follow-up touchdown. He was not so lucky in that fellow linebacker Wesley Woodyard, Denver's best defensive player with Von Miller and Champ Bailey out of the game, was hurt on the play. He was trying to grab the ball before it went out of bounds, but he was bowled over by receiver Brandon Stokley, and limped off the field.
“It was a dumb play in retrospect," Trevathan said after the game. "It’s not going to happen again. I was just so in the moment, you know, it was kind of selfish of me. I’m growing from it, and I’m not going to let nobody stop me from getting better.”
Former Broncos offensive lineman Mark Schlereth summed up the feelings of just about everyone who watched the play:
As a guy who never scored a TD at any level I'd like to kick Travethon in the shins.
— mark schlereth (@markschlereth) September 6, 2013
Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio made sure Trevathan knew the gravity of his mistake.
The game was a laugher for the Broncos because Peyton Manning put together a historic evening, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to throw seven touchdown passes and no interceptions in a single game. As such, Trevathan's goof was just a bit of comic relief, but you can bet he's hearing about it from his coaches and teammates.