For the second time in the past three games, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh elected to attempt a go-ahead two-point conversion after scoring a touchdown with under a minute remaining in order to try to win the game and avoid going into overtime. For the second time, his team failed to execute and lost on passes intended for tight end Mark Andrews.
With those two losses, including yesterday evening’s failed comeback against the Green Bay Packers, the Ravens have now fallen all the way down to 8-6 on the season, leaving the entire AFC North within half a game of one another, pending tonight’s Browns game. Both Baltimore and Cincinnati are 8-6, the Steelers are 7-6-1, and the Browns are 7-6.
Citing concerns in the depth of the secondary for his decision to play for the win against the Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago, John Harbaugh evoked similar concerns about his confidence in his team’s ability to win in overtime for his call to run a two-point attempt against the Packers.
“We were just trying to go get the win right there”, he told reporters after the game. “I think our chances of winning right there were a little bit higher than in overtime, maybe, if you calculate it out. I felt good about it. I thought we had a good play. Again, they made a really good play. I have to give that safety a lot of credit for getting out there and tipping that ball”.
Of course, it should be noted that the Ravens did not have their starting quarterback in for the game. Lamar Jackson, who has previously missed two games due to illness, including COVID-19 last year, sat out the game with an ankle injury, just the third missed game of his career.
Tyler Huntley, who won the backup job this summer, made his second start of the season, and he helped rally the offense to close to within one point. He threw two touchdown passes, and he also ran for two more, becoming the first player in Ravens history to do that in one game—yes, the first even over Jackson.
In spite of the fact that his team is now 0-2 when he attempts a go-ahead two-point conversion with under a minute to play, Harbaugh did not question the decision nor express caution for the future in similar circumstances, should they arise.
“It’s situation to situation. Those two situations you want to talk about, if you want to go back and rehash the season, I’m happy to do it”, he said when asked if he would do it again. “To me, in both of those cases, that gave us the best chance to win. Because we didn’t win doesn’t make it not true. It’s still true now, just as true as it was then. So, it doesn’t always work out”.
Early on in the season, the Ravens won a number of games that they could have easily lost. Both luck and injuries have caught up with them. They have now lost three in a row, and five of their last eight, after beginning the season 5-1.