At this point in the season, Ravens coach John Harbaugh has no reason to develop an ulcer about his decisions.
In two of the last three matches, they attempted to advance a two-point conversion in the last minute and were defeated. On Sunday, the Ravens fell to the Green Bay Packers, 31-30, after Mark Andrews had 42 seconds left on the tight end from quarterback Tyler Huntley.
As fans walked out from M&T Bank Stadium after a third straight loss, there was a mix of opinions about whether going for two was the right call. But here’s a suggestion: Give it a go, guys. This is Harbaugh’s team and he is going to do everything he wants in his defining moments.
Last year Harbaugh said his aggressive decisions were based largely on analytics. On Sunday, he said his decisions were mostly based on gut.
He would make a great politician.
Apparently, he’s not overly concerned about losing the lead in the race to AFC North or possibly missing out on the playoffs because he’s done the same major boo-boo over the past three weeks. There’s stubbornness here too because Harbaugh is like most head coaches – no one is going to tell him what to do with his team.
So, with that attitude, it’s easier to say “that’s John John” than to suck down a bunch of antacids. If you go against this current trend of going for two instead of kicking the extra point, they will accuse you of being too old school.
To which I reply, what about letting the other team beat you instead of beating yourself up? If it didn’t work two weeks ago, and only twice in the Ravens’ seven previous attempts this year, in the name of Vince Lombardi, what made you think it was going to work on Sunday?
Harbaugh can point to all the evidence working in his favor. All due to injuries, the Ravens were serving with a motive crew in secondary and the Packers scored four touchdowns and one field goal on their eight assets.
Plus, if the Ravens kicked the extra point, it leaves one of the game’s greatest quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers, with 42 seconds left and a timeout, which is certainly on the field against this secondary. There is enough time to go to goal range.
But if the Ravens tied the score, they would be in a similar position against Rodgers. Unfortunately, the Ravens failed, so the only recourse was to attempt an onside kick. You may have heard that he got his first successful performance in 20 years last week in Cleveland.
Dar those analytics.
I liked the fact that the Ravens rose above a 31-17 loss in the fourth quarter. I like that Huntley led them on drives for 75 and 49 yards in the final 10 minutes.
The Ravens had speed in both offense and defense. He held Green Bay to a 29-yard field goal when the Ravens failed to finish fourth and -6 on their 29-yard line with 12:01 remaining, and they took three-and-a-half with 2:30 remaining to set up. Forced and-out Huntley’s 8-yard touchdown runs with 42 seconds remaining.
And then the dream died.
After watching the Ravens lose to Pittsburgh and Green Bay, you really don’t want to hear any more about the decision-making process. Of more interest is how much time Ravens spends working on 2-point conversions. Is it just another 15- to 20-minute segment, or do they spend a lot of time developing and playing the plays because they want to be so aggressive?
Against Green Bay, the Ravens put Andrews out as a receiver on the right and rolled Huntley that way, shrinking the size of the field. Because Huntley is only in his second year, he was going to throw Andrews no matter what because he’s programmed that way.
After the loss to Pittsburgh, the Ravens’ offensive coordinator Greg Roman said their 2-point effort was foul play and that the Ravens needed a better one. He’ll say the same thing again this week because it didn’t work either.
You would understand that the Ravens might want to try another option as they haven’t had much success. But they won’t. Harbagh loves to roll the dice. The Ravens have done this several times in other situations and have been successful, which is why they have won two overtime games and three other games this season by three points or less.
The philosophy is now set in stone. Is it his way or the highway. Nothing else matters.
If it works, great. And if not, very bad.
This is his team. Time to move on fans.