Welcome to the CFL: Ravens, Bengals accidentally have 12 players on field

Screenshot courtesy: CBS

It appears the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals thought they were playing in the Canadian Football League on Sunday.

Well, at least for one play.

Both teams were caught with 12 players on the field for a key third down early in their meeting at Paul Brown Stadium.

The infraction came on a third-and-nine play that resulted in a sack by Isaiah Mack on Joe Burrow. The initial snap of the football wasn’t televised as Cincinnati rushed the snap in an attempt to catch the defence by surprise.

The penalty wasn’t initially caught, prompting the Bengals to challenge instead of having Evan McPherson try a 35-yard field goal. The replay revealed at Baltimore defensive lineman Calais Campbell tried to exit the field but was unable to get off the field before the ball was snapped.

He wasn’t the only extra player on the field, however, which the head official revealed following the review.

“After review, it’s been determined that both teams had 12 men on the field at the snap. Therefore, they’re offsetting fouls,” said Clete Blakeman following the challenge. “Cincinnati will not be charged a timeout.”

The Bengals got another chance at converting on third down, though they failed to do so. McPherson was brought out to try a field goal and connected from 30 yards out, opening the scoring at 3-0.

The Bengals eventually won the game by a score of 41-21 over the Ravens, who were without a number of key starters due to COVID-19 protocol. Cincinnati now leads the AFC North with a 9-6 record, while the Ravens have lost four straight to fall to 8-7.

The CFL is reportedly reviewing all aspects of its game, including the number of downs. Apparently the NFL — or two of its teams, anyway — are experimenting with how many players should be on the field.