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Ravens Coach Explains Decision to go for Late Touchdown Against the Chiefs

For those that threw the towel in early and missed the end of the Kansas City Chiefs 38-24 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, let me lay out the scenario.

  • Score: 31-24 Ravens
  • Time: 36 seconds
  • Situation: 4th and goal from the one yard line

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh decided to go for the touchdown instead of icing it with a field goal.  Now, when the decision came down, I heard several cries from Chiefs fans that this was running up the score.  No way, in my mind.  That didn't even enter my mind until I saw someone mention it in the game thread.

The Ravens had a couple of options: Go for the touchdown or kick the field goal.  They chose the touchdown.  This, in my opinion, was the best decision from the Ravens perspective.

The Chiefs had already blocked a punt so if they got in there again, the ball would be flopping around in the middle of the field with the possibility of a Chiefs player (not a lineman) picking it up and returning it for a touchdown.

The Ravens went for it.  If they didn't get it, one of two things would have likely happened.

  • They're simply stopped and the Chiefs get the ball back with 36 seconds and 99 yards to go
  • They fumble it and probably one of the Chiefs linemen recovers and they still have 95+ yards to go with 36 seconds remaining

Head coach John Harbaugh explained his decision to go for it.

"I’ve seen it before," Harbaugh said, "when you go for that field goal there, more things can happen on a kicking play than any other kind of play.

"We’re fourth and 6 inches; I think we have a better chance of making the touchdown than we do of something bad happening on the field goal."

Exactly.  If the play didn't work out, whatever the decision, the field goal had a better chance of hurting them.

Ryan, over at KC Chiefs Blog, agrees with this sentiment.

"Watching the game I didn’t think there should even be a discussion." Ryan wrote this morning.  "Of course the Ravens would go for it on 4th down.  The Chiefs defense had to make a stop and then Brodie Croyle would be forced to try and go 99 yards in less than 30 seconds. 

"Why would Harbaugh give the Kansas City special teams another chance to make a big play?"

It was definitely the right decision and one that hurt the Chiefs.