On the first play of the fourth quarter last Sunday, the Ravens faced a fourth down from inside the Giants’ one-yard-line while trailing 17-13 and coach John Harbaugh opted to go for the touchdown.
Quarterback Joe Flacco pitched the ball to running back Terrance West who tried to get outside the defense, but failed when linebackers Jonathan Casillas and Mark Herzlich stuffed him for a loss. Harbaugh’s decision came under scrutiny late in the game when the Ravens needed a touchdown rather than a field goal to win, but he has no regrets about the decision.
Harbaugh said he is “going to coach this team to score from the half-yard line” and that the team’s analytics backed up the decision to go for six points, leaving him upset about the outcome of the play but not the decision to try it.
“We tried a fake field goal [in Week Five] and we ended up losing by six,” Harbaugh said, via ESPN.com. “If we would have got the touchdown there, we would have won the game. But no one said, ‘Well, it was good to go for the fake there, because you ended up losing by six.’ Last week, we say, ‘The game would have played out differently,’ and this week we say, ‘The game would have played out the same way.’ How would the game have played out? I don’t know how the game would have played out.”
It’s hard to argue with a coach who chooses to believe his team is capable of scoring from the lip of the end zone and Harbaugh’s long been a proponent of going for it on fourth downs. The Ravens have tried to convert fourth downs more than any other team since the start of the 2014 season and Harbaugh’s answer to questions make it clear the process will remain the same despite the bad outcome against the Giants.