John Harbaugh: Trying for TD rather than kicking field goal in fourth gave us best chance to win

Buffalo Bills v Baltimore Ravens
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Ravens head coach John Harbaugh faced a decision on fourth down from the Bills’ 2-yard-line with just over four minutes left to play in Sunday’s game.

A field goal would have broken a 20-20 tie, but it would allow the Bills to win the game with a touchdown on their next possession. Harbaugh opted to go for a touchdown of his own, but quarterback Lamar Jackson’s pass into the end zone was picked off by Bills safety Jordan Poyer.

Harbaugh said he was “very confident” in his defense stopping Buffalo from their own 2-yard-line, but the pick set the Bills up on their 20 and they were able to drive for a game-winning field goal. Harbaugh said “hindsight” made it easy to think about taking the points, but explained why he went the other way.

“I felt like it gave us the best chance to win the game. [If we score] seven, the worst that happens is if they go down the field and score — and I think we’ll get them stopped — the worst thing that can happen is you’re in overtime,” Harbaugh said, via the team’s website. “But you kick a field goal there, now it’s not a three-down game anymore, it’s a four-down game. You’re putting your defense at a disadvantage because they’ve got four downs to convert all the way down the field and a chance to again score seven, and then you lose the game on a touchdown.”

The Ravens led 20-3 at one point in Sunday’s game, so there were plenty of other opportunities for them to put things away before the final minutes. Their inability to do so leaves them with a 2-2 record heading into a Week Five home date with the Bengals.

22 responses to “John Harbaugh: Trying for TD rather than kicking field goal in fourth gave us best chance to win

  1. Always take the points you never know what could happen especially in rainy windy conditions.

  2. OR…you kick the FG, go up by three, play defense, win game. Seems pretty simple.
    What am I missing?

  3. As it turns out, Harbaugh was right. But, not opting to drag Buffalo’s runner into the end zone with 1:35 on the clock is on Harbaugh.

  4. It was the right call to go for the TD and played out as such. The Bills marched down the field and were in great position to score 6. The INT just gave them the extra 20 yards.

  5. It is obvious to see why the Ravens did not capitulate to Lamar Jackson’s outrageous contract demands. When the lights are brightest, he fails again and again.

  6. Terrible collapse by the Ravens. Lamar didnt play his best and the defense let them come back. The Bills are really good in case nobody knew that allready.

  7. I love to see that constipation face when you lose John. Should’ve kicked the field goal. Ha!

  8. Harbaugh earned that loss.
    Up three with four minutes to play leaves the Bills under pressure to definitely score. Regardless if it’s a field goal or a touchdown, the onus is on Buffalo to either tie it up or take the lead. They wouldn’t be in their four minute offence, slow rolling the game so that they could clinch it with a last second field goal and giving the Ravens zero opportunity to answer back.
    Baltimore was held scoreless in the second half of the game and should have taken any opportunity to put up more points. All this did was show that their coach had zero confidence in their defence.
    Harbaugh blew it.

  9. He puts Ron Rivera and Brandon Staley to shame since his 4th down and 2 points gambling addiction started two seasons ago

  10. If you’re gonna go for it you gotta tell Lamar 2 things. Don’t take a sack, and don’t throw an INT in the end zone.

  11. His defense was getting worked for two and a half quarters after the Dolphin debacle and nearly losing the lead last week, and he had the ball in the team MVP’s hand at the 2. I don’t know why everyone else is acting obtuse and double guessing him. He could have kicked it, but his thinking was that even if we kick it here, my defense won’t stop them because they haven’t for a while now, and we’ll end up down by four with little time left. I want to make sure we can get to overtime.

  12. But hey, at least Baltimore has won 20 straight preseason games. That matters according to Harbaugh. Ever since he got offended last preseason when people said it means nothing, Baltimore is 10-11 in gamea that actually count. 8-9 last year, 2-2 this year.

  13. I like that he has strong opinions behind his decisions he makes; however, against a generally great defensive team, you take the points.

    If they respond with a touchdown, then you respond likewise. Planning on your defensive failing and allowing 7 isn’t showing your trust in them either.

  14. Considering how easily Buffalo moved down the field, it seems like going for six was probably the right call—even in hindsight. If Jackson threw an incompletion, Buffalo would have started at the one or two yard line. Teams are less aggressive back there.

    If the Ravens went for the FG, Buffalo would have gotten the ball back at the 25 (for a kickoff touchback, rather than staying at the 20 for the INT touchback). So the Bills would have started five yards closer to goal, with the same amount of time. Going for the TD was the right call because Buffalo would have won anyway. The only reason they did not score a TD was because they chose not to. Even if the Ravens took the FG, Buffalo would have just scored and they would have lost 27-23 anyway.

  15. Terrible call, you take the points. These coaches and going for it when you should take the points is stupid trend and they are losing games for their teams. You take the points and make them beat you by scoring a touchdown. Your defense might come out a little more hyped with a lead then tied knowing a FG beats them when your coach should have given you the lead!

  16. Take the points in THIS game – no way. Situational football. I not a Harbaugh fan – but I agree with his decision to go for the TD. Based upon Ravens 2nd half performance (other lack thereof) he assessed that he would need 7 to win or tie the game. He’s on the opponents 2 yd line with the ball in the hands of his very dangerous QB. This was their only chance in the 1nd half to potentially win this game. Bills Allen has 4 min after that possession – the Ravens were likely NOT going to get the ball again, and the probability of Buffalo getting 7 on that last drive was very high.

  17. Bad decision and bad play call. That said, we probably lose the game anyway with Bills going in for a TD with little or no time left. We have no faith in the Defense late in games and without a pass rush it is unlikely to change anytime soon. We have played a reasonably tough schedule with Miami, NE and Buffalo so 2-2 is not the end of the world.

  18. Holid says:
    October 3, 2022 at 10:20 am
    Considering how easily Buffalo moved down the field, it seems like going for six was probably the right call—even in hindsight. If Jackson threw an incompletion, Buffalo would have started at the one or two yard line. Teams are less aggressive back there.

    If the Ravens went for the FG, Buffalo would have gotten the ball back at the 25 (for a kickoff touchback, rather than staying at the 20 for the INT touchback). So the Bills would have started five yards closer to goal, with the same amount of time. Going for the TD was the right call because Buffalo would have won anyway. The only reason they did not score a TD was because they chose not to. Even if the Ravens took the FG, Buffalo would have just scored and they would have lost 27-23 anyway.

    62Rate This

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    You are correct. This was Harbaugh’s mindset. The team didn’t execute.

  19. It is what it is. They get the TD and win hes a genius, they fail and lose hes an idiot. I dont have an issue with them going for the TD. Take the FG and best case scenario is you hold Buffalo to a FG and pull it out in OT. The way the game was going he knew he needed 7. The play call and execution should be questioned.

  20. The decision and play call were actually excellent. The execution was garbage.

  21. If this were an isolated incident, it wouldn’t be so bad. I can understand the thinking, but Harbaugh costs his team game after game. Going for 2 against Pittsburgh instead of kicking and going to OT. Going for it on 4th against the Dolphins and giving them a short field when they had just cut the lead to 14 and had momentum. Just stupid decision after stupid decision, and he seems to always get a pass from the media. He explains and everyone just shrugs their shoulders and goes on, while other coaches are roasted for weeks after one bad decision. I hate conservative football, but when your team fails to execute in those situations time and time again, don’t you learn and adjust your thinking? If you want to play aggressive football, how about getting rid of Greg Roman and Mike MacDonald so you don’t lose leads every week? Roman has more than proven that he cannot make adjustments when the other team figures out his offense, and so far it appears MacDonald is just the Greg Roman of defense.

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