Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer 18d

Terrell Suggs: Refs are going to protect quarterbacks, except for Joe Flacco

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Terrell Suggs didn't see the Baltimore Ravens' unnecessary roughness penalty on Marcus Mariota, but it spurred the outside linebacker to voice a strong opinion about the NFL.

"In this league, the refs are going to protect the quarterbacks, except for ours, of course," Suggs said after Sunday's 23-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Suggs' criticism is likely in reference to the officials not ejecting Miami Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso for his concussion-inducing hit to the head of Joe Flacco on Oct. 26 and the league levying a not-so-hefty $9,115 fine rather than suspending him.

On Sunday, Baltimore linebacker Za'Darius Smith received an unnecessary roughness penalty just like Alonso, although his contact with the quarterback on the second-quarter play wasn't even close to being as severe. Smith nudged Mariota out of bounds after the Titans quarterback had thrown the ball away.

It was a momentum-changing call, because the Titans went on to score a touchdown instead of settling for a field goal. If not for Smith's penalty on third down, Tennessee would've gone for three points. But the gift first down at Baltimore's 5-yard line led to six points in a game ultimately decided by a field goal.

Smith declined comment while walking out of the locker room, but others voiced their displeasure over his actions.

"I thought he shouldn't have done it," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "That kind of situation, I don't know how hard it was. Anything like that, that's not for me to judge, really. But it's unnecessary to even try to even do that in that situation."

Baltimore safety Eric Weddle thought everyone should've been extra cautious around Mariota after linebacker Matthew Judon "killed" the quarterback and didn't get flagged.

"So you knew anything close, they were going to call," Weddle said. "He didn't push him. He didn't hit him. But he did nudge him. It's just dumb football. We're not good enough to overcome things right now. It's all of us. It's not one guy."

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