By Zack Kelberman
(247SPORTS) – To quote the great Ron Burgandy, Phillip Lindsay was in a glass case of emotion after Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
One thought swimming through the rookie running back’s mind was contriteness. He wasn’t proud of his first-half ejection, and publicly atoned for his lapse in judgment.
“I feel horrible,” Lindsay said. “I feel horrible, because I’m not out there with my team. And that’s my fault. That’s something I’m going to learn from. It’s never going to happen again.”
Another was defiance. He opposed the notion that punches were thrown in a dog pile, which led to a stunning disqualification.
“The ball ended up squirting back out,” he explained. “Another Raven dude jumped on the pile, so I went there. … You try to make a play for your team, but we’re right there on the 34-yard line, and once I tried to hit the ball out, it looked like I was swinging at somebody.”
CBS cameras caught Lindsay seemingly jabbing at the ball, not the opponent, following a strip-sack on quarterback Case Keenum. The officiating crew huddled for what seemed like an eternity before tossing Lindsay and docking Denver, pushing them out of field goal range.
What is it with the Broncos and shoddy officiating?
Lindsay’s absence reverberated beyond that drive. The Broncos finished with as many penalty yards (120) as net rushing yards in a sloppy 27-14 defeat. Would the outcome have changed if they didn’t lose their multi-threat weapon? We’ll never know. But it stung all the same.
“He’s obviously a big part of what we do offensively,” head coach Vance Joseph said. “He’s our double-returner today — our kickoff and punt returner today. So in losing him, that’s a big deal, plus the penalty yards after that.”
Lindsay, meet Earth. The first-year sensation crashed back down, through little fault of his own, in a welcome-to-the-NFL swoop.
“The lesson is to be smart, to understand that it is about being smart,” he said. “I’m fighting for my teammates, and I can’t do that if I’m sitting here in the locker room.”
Tragic part is, Lindsay plays the entire game if not for a preceding debacle on the zebras’ part. The Broncos were set up in Ravens territory prior to the Keenum fumble thanks to a blocked field goal, which cornerback Chris Harris Jr. scooped and scored. Not so fast, though: Offensive lineman Billy Turner — who wasn’t in the game at the time — was called for a block in the back during the return, nullifying an incredible touchdown.
It stands, and Lindsay doesn’t throw punches. It stands, and momentum swings in the visiting team’s favor. It stands, and Denver perhaps remains undefeated.
Alas, when it rains, it’s penalized.
“We can’t do that,” said Joseph. “It probably cost us 20 points today. Just self-inflicted penalties. A lot of the penalties really were guys losing their composure. You’re playing a tough Baltimore team on the road, and you have 13 penalties for 120 yards, and it really honestly cost us 20 points out there. So, that obviously killed us today.”