The Ravens were trailing the Giants by four points and driving late in the fourth quarter when Joe Flacco threw long for Breshad Perriman. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie looked as if he played it perfectly in breaking up the third-down pass at about the 5-yard line, but a yellow flag flew that had Big Blue seeing red — pass interference.
“Initially, I wanted to take my helmet off and throw it,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “But I can’t argue the call. I’ve never been one to just argue calls. Even though it was a crucial call, I’ve got to live with it.”
It appeared the Giants were going to die with it Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The 30-yard penalty put the ball at the 8 and set up Baltimore’s go-ahead touchdown with 2:04 left. But the man known as DRC got the last word: Victory.
After Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. countered with a 66-yard touchdown connection, Rodgers-Cromartie made two important plays on the Ravens’ last-gasp drive, including a pass breakup in the end zone on the final snap. So the Giants won, 27-23, to halt their three-game slide and pull even at 3-3.
“Real big,” said Rodgers-Cromartie, who played through a groin injury. “Any time you can get a win at home and get back on track, man, it’s a plus for you as far as morale. You’re upbeat.”
The key pass-interference penalty, which came on a third-and-4 at the Giants’ 38, wasn’t good for the fans’ morale, drawing loud boos and chants. The official explained the call to Rodgers-Cromartie.
“He said earlier [in the route], me and the receiver were fighting,” the ninth-year cornerback said. “I’m trying to explain to him his own rules, that when you and the receiver are engaged with each other and you’re both looking at the ball, that’s totally legal. But he tried to tell me I got him a little bit at the beginning.”
What was teammate Jonathan Casillas’ view of the questionable call?
“I think it was a horrible call,” the defensive captain said. “ ‘Questionable’ is being generous.”
Coach Ben McAdoo said the Giants will look at the tape, “and if we don’t agree with it, we’ll send it in [to the league].”
Then came another big call on the Ravens’ next possession. An incompletion was negated when lineman Owa Odighizuwa was flagged for roughing Flacco on fourth-and-5 at the Giants’ 39 with 15 seconds left.
First down at the 24.
“For a split-second, I almost let it get to me,” Rodgers-Cromartie said.
Rodgers-Cromartie soon got to the Ravens, delivering a heavy hit on Mike Wallace at the 13 to force a second-down incompletion. Finally, with seven seconds remaining, Flacco went looking for tight end Dennis Pitta in the end zone on third-and-15 from the 29. Rodgers-Cromartie broke it up.
“My main thing was just don’t let them into this end zone, whatever you’ve got to do,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “So whether it was me or anybody else that broke it up, I was happy we got the win and we were able to walk away from it.”