The Ravens had a comfortable 24-point lead and were set up for a short field goal.
Instead of taking the three points, Baltimore called for a fake.
Instead of taking a 27-point lead, the Ravens went up 31 with five minutes and 40 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
So were the Ravens running up the score? That was the question repeatedly asked by media to both teams after the game.
No, says Head Coach John Harbaugh. And the Raiders didn’t take offense either.
“It’s the National Football League. I just put no credence in that,” Harbaugh said.
The Raiders had a similar reaction.
“Nothing surprised me,” Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen said. “Our job is to stop them, and we have to stop them.”
“Oh no, that’s football,” safety Michael Huff added. “We’re all grown men. Obviously, if we didn’t like it, we have to stop it.”
“We’re paid to stop them and they’re paid to score,” defensive tackle Tommy Kelly simply said.
The Ravens said they called the fake because the Raiders were overloading their field goal block unit to one side with eight players, leaving the left side of the line open.
Baltimore had seen it on tape and put it in the game plan this week. The Ravens knew that if the Raiders came out in that formation, they would run the fake. Koch made the decision to go with it.
“If they are going to give you that opportunity, then we’re going to take it,” Harbaugh said. “That’s pretty much what we always do, so that’s why we did it.”
The Ravens had a similar move last year against the Pittsburgh Steelers on kickoff weekend. Ahead 27-7 near the start of the third quarter, Koch easily trotted in for a two-point conversion on a fake extra point.
“We’re trying to get as many points as we can,” Harbaugh said. “When I’m looking at the clock, and I’m seeing 25 minutes left in the game, a lot of things can happen. Turnovers can happen, people can score quick.
“So, if they’re going to give us an opportunity for four points that we normally wouldn’t have, we just feel obligated to take advantage of that. We are trying to win the game, so if you can extend your lead, you really should do that in this league. There is just too much talent over there to assume that they can’t get back into the football game, so that’s what we do.”