The Ravens employed a little-used strategy in Sunday’s loss to the Steelers, having safety Chuck Clark intentionally jump offside late in the game. But Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn’t want to talk about it.
“I don’t need to get into the strategy of it all,” Harbaugh said. “But sometimes, it is, [and] sometimes, it isn’t.”
It clearly was intentional. With the Steelers facing second-and-2, Clark blatantly jumped offside because the Ravens wanted to give the Steelers a free first down without running any more time off the clock. The Ravens’ thinking was that the Steelers, needing only two yards, were probably going to gain a first down anyway within the next two plays, and that would have allowed the Steelers to run more time off the clock. By giving the Steelers a first down on a penalty, the Ravens kept the clock stopped.
The Steelers should have declined the offside penalty, but they apparently didn’t realize what the Ravens were doing. But at some point, teams are going to catch on, because the Ravens have done this before: Clark also purposely jumped offside in similar situations in 2019 against the Bills and in 2020 against the Patriots. Clark is the Ravens’ designated late-game offside-jumper, and opposing teams should recognize that the next time it happens, they should decline the penalty.