With 1:18 left in last night's game, and leading by 11 points, Baltimore Ravens QB Hunter Cantwell completed a deep pass to WR Laquan Williams that put the Ravens inside the Chiefs' ten-yard line. Three plays later, the Ravens punched the ball into the end zone with essentially no time left.
Final score: 31-13.
The touchdown was so irrelevant that NFL.com doesn't even show it in their highlights of the game last night.
Immediately, some Kansas City Chiefs fans here at AP claimed the Baltimore Ravens "ran up the score." The announcers wondered how Todd Haley would react, especially after last year's finger wagging at Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels.
You could probably imagine how the Chiefs head coach would take this....
Sure enough, Haley looked pretty pissed off. Pissed off enough that it caused Ravens head coach John Harbaugh to apologize after the game. I caught the press conference on local TV here in Washington, DC. Harbaugh said:
"I want to apologize to the Chiefs if they feel like we were not doing the right thing at the end of the game. That wasn't the mindset, OK? The mindset was -- this is the preseason. If this had been the regular season, we would've been on a knee. The idea in that situation is to give those young guys who work hard and who are trying to make a football team -- this football team or another football team -- to play the whole 60 minutes and give them a chance to show what they can do."
Harbaugh then gave us a little insight into the post-game conversation between him and Todd Haley:
"I think he said something like, 'I don't know about that,' "I understood, and I just said, 'Preseason, preseason for the young guys.' He said 'OK.'
I'm on Harbaugh's side here. First of all, it didn't even occur to me you could run up the score in the preseason. As Allen Iverson would say, we're talking about preseason.
You have to understand the preseason is essentially practice, as Todd Haley basically admitted after last week's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It's about reps. The final score does not matter. Not one bit. That's why, when the Ravens were lining up to try to score one more touchdown, I didn't have a problem with it. When will the Ravens coaches get to see these third string players in a situation like this again? Situations like this are valuable talent evaluation opportunities for coaches.
I don't recall people accuse the Patriots running up the score last weekend against the Jaguars while putting up 47 points.
What's different about last night's situation? I think Haley was wrong here. He's getting a reputation that, frankly, isn't a good look for him.