Let’s get this out of the way: There’s no such thing as “running up the score” in the NFL. They’re professionals, and grown men. They get paid for 60 minutes of football. There’s no mercy rule in pro football.
Yet, the Baltimore Ravens will probably be upset that as they were getting handled by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday morning in London, the Jaguars decided to run a trick play they had in their bag for the game. The left end on the Ravens’ punt return team crashed inside, anticipating a punt, but the Jaguars snapped it directly to running back Corey Grant. Grant had a wide open field to his right and ran for 58 yards.
The Jaguars were ahead 37-0 at the time.
Most teams follow an unwritten rule that you don’t rub it in when you’re leading by that much. You won’t see many teams running fake punts up 37 points. Maybe there are different rules for that in London. The Grant run set up a Leonard Fournette touchdown to put the Jaguars ahead 44-0.
The Ravens will probably be mad, like they were mad about the Patriots outsmarting them with some tricky formations in the playoffs a few years ago. The Ravens are unlikely to get the competition committee to outlaw fake punts, however, no matter how many points a team trails by.
Was it unsportsmanlike to call a fake punt? Some would say so. But the Ravens could have avoided it, by either stopping the play or not falling behind by five touchdowns.
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