It was a rollercoaster of a ride for the Baltimore Ravens when they went up against their biggest AFC North nemesis in Week 13, one that ended in a gut-wrenching 20-19 loss at Heinz Field on Sunday. The Ravens went from having a seven-point lead to just four before stretching it back to seven, and that’s when things got really dicey for head coach John Harbaugh and former league MVP Lamar Jackson. For while Ben Roethlisberger and Co. couldn’t muster anything more than three points through the first three quarters, they went on to score 17 points in the fourth — taking a 20-13 lead with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.
And so it was that Jackson was tasked with mounting another comeback, and in a game the Ravens could’ve won handily, and he delivered with a touchdown strike to wideout Sammy Watkins on third-and-5 to cap an eight-play, 60-yard drive that took only one minute and 36 seconds to achieve as the game neared its end.
Then came the decision. Should the Ravens attempt the PAT and force overtime, or go for two points and bury the Steelers once and for all? They opted for the latter, but the pass attempt from Jackson to tight end Mark Andrews sailed incomplete, and Baltimore was forced to climb into the casket instead.
But don’t expect an apology from Harbaugh.
“Trying to win the game right there,” he told media after the one-point loss, via NFL.com.
He went on to note the lack of roster depth as an added reason to roll the dice.
“We were pretty much out of corners at that point in time,” Harbaugh said. “It was an opportunity to try to win the game right there.”
In other words, he didn’t like the Ravens’ chances of going into overtime with such a thinned out corps of defensive backs, considering they lost All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey to a shoulder injury that puts the remainder of his 2021 season in jeopardy — an MRI having been scheduled for Monday to confirm his status going forward. This news comes in a year that’s already seen the Ravens move two-time All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters and safeties Deshon Elliott and Ar’Darius Washington to season-ending injured reserve. The Ravens had entered the Week 13 matchup with 11 players listed as questionable, five of them cornerbacks.
Also consider the aforementioned 17-point fourth quarter by the Steelers and it’s not difficult to understand why Harbaugh wanted to end the game then and there. He rolled the dice, as he often has in the past, and he’d do it again.