Former NFL coach believes Ravens’ fourth-down call was ‘perfect’

Ravens, Lamar Jackson (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Ravens, Lamar Jackson (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /
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The Baltimore Ravens became a lightning rod of controversy after their fourth-down decision in Week 4 against the Bills, yet a few around the league are voicing their support for the play call.

For those out of the loop, the Ravens chose to go for it on a fourth-and-goal attempt on Buffalo’s 2-yard line with around four minutes to go in the game. Lamar Jackson threw an interception on the play, and the Bills then drove down the field to kick the game-winning field goal.

Though John Harbaugh’s play call was aggressive, it was the right decision and a perfectly drawn-up play, according to one former NFL coach.

Mike Martz, who coached the St. Louis Rams, believed the issue wasn’t with the call but with the execution. Martz explained: “For some reason, Lamar either panicked or just misread the coverage and just didn’t execute.”

For what it’s worth, ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky shared Martz’s sentiment and believes that had Jackson successfully completed the play, no one would be having this conversation — Harbaugh’s decision was a good call.

Ravens’ fourth-down play call in Week 4 was good in theory, bad in execution

Looking back at the tape, it’s easy to see how Jackson’s thrown interception could have instead been a game-winning touchdown.

Wide receiver Devin Duvernay managed to get open on the right side in the end zone, creating a few yards of separation from the nearest safety, but Jackson didn’t see him until it was too late.

He told reporters after the game that a Bills’ defensive lineman bull-rushed him and obstructed his vision.

"“I was trying to see around him to see where my guys were, but I saw Duvernay late. If I would have seen him right off the bat, that would have been a touchdown.”"

Both Martz and Orlovsky seem to agree that Greg Roman’s drawn-up play set the Ravens up for an open pitch-and-catch touchdown that likely would’ve won the game for Baltimore.

Instead, Jackson struggled to read Buffalo’s defensive coverage, couldn’t execute, and the Ravens suffered their second defeat of the season.

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In truth, several other factors contributed to this heartbreaking loss, and while Harbaugh will remain under scrutiny for the rest of the season, the fourth-down play call shouldn’t be viewed as a terrible decision in itself.