Why Ravens HC John Harbaugh made the right decision on Sunday
The Baltimore Ravens came inches away from a stunning upset victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. But for the third consecutive week, luck just wasn’t on their side.
Head coach John Harbaugh made the decision to attempt a two-point conversion at the end of the game rather than tie the game with an extra point. And once again, we’re having this discussion.
Harbaugh’s decision was always going to be one that was picked apart and overanalyzed. The Ravens didn’t lose the game because of the decision, at least not from a big-picture perspective.
Still, it’s going to be one of the most talked-about moments from the game. Did Harbaugh make the right decision? First, let’s take a look at Harbaugh’s rationale which he explained after the game.
"“I thought our chances of winning there was better than overtime.”"
It’s as simple as that.
John Harbaugh made the decision that gave the Ravens the best chance to win on Sunday
Harbaugh’s decision was not one that can be analyzed in a vacuum. Context is crucial here. He felt that he would rather the game come down to one two-point attempt than potentially trust his injury-riddled defense to stop Aaron Rodgers in overtime.
Of course, the flip side of that argument is that the Ravens weren’t guaranteed overtime even if they managed to convert on the two-point try. That point is certainly a fair one.
But with 42 seconds and only one timeout remaining, Harbaugh was betting that the Packers would not be able to get in scoring range. That’s a fair bet, at least fairer than hoping to stop them in overtime.
If the game went to overtime and the Packers were to win the coin flip, there’s a very high chance that they would have been able to score a touchdown.
While the Ravens defense undoubtedly overachieved on Sunday, asking the likes of Anthony Averett, Robert Jackson, and Kevon Seymour to contain Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams in overtime would have been foolish.
Not to mention the likes of Brandon Stephens and Geno Stone starting at safety. And even if the Ravens did stop the Packers (or they won the coin toss), it’s also asking a lot of them to drive down the field and score.
When it comes down to it, Harbaugh took his chances on one two-point attempt as opposed to what would likely have been a coin flip. He put the ball in Tyler Huntley’s hands to win the game, rather than Aaron Rodgers.
Now, we could certainly discuss the play call and how the Ravens probably could have done better. But then again, Huntley had Marquise Brown wide open in the back of the end zone, only to zero in on Mark Andrews.
There were so many ways the end of Sunday’s game could have played out. Early in the season, those 50/50 games were going the Ravens’ way. But as of late, luck just hasn’t been on their side.
Injuries forced John Harbaugh’s hand on Sunday. Hindsight doesn’t make the decision any less correct.