Ravens’ Harbaugh stands by 4th-down call in loss to Bills

Oct 3, 2022, 3:25 AM | Updated: 3:26 pm

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) is brought down by Buffalo Bills linebacker Tremaine...

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) is brought down by Buffalo Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — John Harbaugh is standing firmly by his decision to go for it on a late fourth down last weekend.

“It’s easy to make a safe decision that just puts it on the players,” the Baltimore coach said Monday. “You can do that. That’s easy. I’ve just never been one to take that route.”

The Ravens lost 23-20 to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. The Bills kicked the winning field goal with no time remaining — shortly after Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson threw an interception on fourth down from the Buffalo 2-yard line. The decision to try for a touchdown in a tie game backfired on the Ravens.

Harbaugh explained his thought process Monday, much as he did in the immediate aftermath of the game. Obviously, taking a seven-point lead was preferable to going up by three, and he felt the downside risk was mitigated by the fact that if Baltimore failed on the play, the Bills would be pinned back near their own goal line.

What he didn’t plan on was that Jackson would be chased back by the pass rush and, in an attempt to avoid a turnover on downs, force a pass into coverage that was picked off in the end zone. That gave Buffalo the ball at the 20 and presumably allowed the Bills to be more aggressive on offense than if they took over at the 2.

“I’m thinking either seven, or I’m thinking the ball’s at the 2-yard line,” Harbaugh said. “And I really stand by that decision.”

The bigger problem for the Ravens (2-2) is they’re on a pretty poor run when it comes to converting these aggressive calls.

Baltimore lost six games in a row to finish last season. The Ravens missed a 2-point conversion at the end of a game at Pittsburgh and lost 20-19. They missed another 2-pointer at the end of a 31-30 loss to Green Bay. Last month, a key fourth-down stop helped Miami rally to a 42-38 win over Baltimore.


The Baltimore defense had some help from the rainy weather, but the Ravens did a good job limiting big plays against a dangerous Buffalo passing game. It took almost two full quarters for Josh Allen and the Bills to reach the end zone.


The Ravens could easily be undefeated, but they blew a 21-point lead to Miami and a 17-point lead to Buffalo — both at home. It was easy to pinpoint the main problem against the Dolphins. Baltimore allowed quick, long touchdowns that put Miami back in the game.

The issue against the Bills was less glaring. Certainly the Ravens’ offense could have done more — they went scoreless in the second half — but they did finish with 38:10 of possession.

What came back to haunt Baltimore was problems finishing drives. Not only did the Ravens miss that late fourth down, they also settled for field goals a couple times in the first half when Buffalo was on the ropes.


After a pedestrian start to the season, second-year pass rusher Odafe Oweh had a sack and a forced fumble Sunday. There was some confusion at the end of the game when Oweh tackled a Buffalo ball carrier at the Baltimore 3 when the Ravens were trying to let him score — but Harbaugh said the runner may have been going down anyway.

“We coach them to pick the guy up and carry him in the end zone if they can,” Harbaugh said. “Odafe was in a situation where at that point he’s not going to be able to pick him up. He’s going to the ground, he’s trying to punch the ball out. So I thought he did the right thing.”


Everyone has a quiet game now and then, and Mark Andrews had just two catches for 15 yards. That snapped a streak of 12 games with at least 50 yards receiving, which was one shy of the post-merger record held by Rob Gronkowski.


Harbaugh said WR Rashod Bateman was dealing with a foot issue. He also doesn’t expect RB Justice Hill’s hamstring injury to be a long-term problem. … Harbaugh expects LB Tyus Bowser (Achilles tendon) to practice to some extent, but isn’t counting on him for the next game. … RB Gus Edwards (knee) is expected to start practicing.


7 — The number of consecutive losses for Baltimore in one-score games. The Ravens won six of those games in a row prior to the start of this skid, so they’ll hope these close contests start swinging back in their favor soon.


Baltimore hosts Cincinnati on Sunday night in the team’s first divisional matchup of the season. The Bengals beat the Ravens 41-17 and 41-21 last year.


Follow Noah Trister at https://twitter.com/noahtrister


More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

7 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

7 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

7 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

7 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

7 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

7 months ago

Ravens’ Harbaugh stands by 4th-down call in loss to Bills