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Intentional Safety Was Even Better Than Super Bowl Trick ... In Execution


The Ravens needed to run 11 seconds off the clock to seal a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, so they went back to the well of good ideas.

Baltimore dusted off an intentional safety play they used to help seal their Super Bowl XLVII win about four years ago.

Punter Sam Koch took the snap and held the ball in the end zone. All of the Ravens' special teams players intentionally wrapped up and held whatever Bengals player headed Koch's way, allowing the punter to meander in the end zone long enough to run out the clock. 

Koch stepped out of the end zone, giving the Bengals a safety and two points, but it didn't matter. Time was up and the game was over with the Ravens winning, 19-14.

If the Ravens had punted the ball, the Bengals would have had a chance for a long return and possible touchdown to tie (or win with a two-point conversion) the game.

There were multiple flags thrown on the field for holding on the single play, but there is no untimed down after an offensive penalty. Essentially, it's an NFL rules loophole the Ravens have now exploited twice.

"I tried to mention that that was the best safety ever taken," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.

"What I meant was that it was the best-executed safety ever taken because we kept him clean the whole time. But, [Terrell Suggs] says that nothing can top the Super Bowl safety."

In Super Bowl XLVII, the Ravens had 12 seconds to kill, but didn't waste it all. Koch was pushed out of bounds with four seconds left on the clock.

That meant Koch had to punt the ball back to the 49ers, giving them one last chance to run it back to win the game. As everybody knows, that didn't happen.

Point is, Sunday's intentional safety went even better. Everybody held – for longer.

"Part of the deal was just identifying all of their men, because if we misidentify on the count and leave one guy running through there, he's going to get to Sam, and there's going to be very little time off the clock," Harbaugh said.

"Everybody did a great job of communicating. They were moving and shifting like they are well coached to do. Our guys got on all of their guys and did a great job."

Koch said Ravens Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg started talking about the possibility of running the trick play early during the preceding offensive series. That shows just how much thought the Ravens put into special teams.

"With Jerry and Harbaugh, even though it may only happen once or twice in four years, it's something we practice yearly," Koch said. "We make sure we leave no stone unturned, and when situations arise like that, we can have this at our disposal."

"I thought that was one of the most underrated, awesome plays I've ever seen," said kicker Justin Tucker, who booted four field goals, including three from beyond 50 yards.

"The execution of the 'take a safety' there at the end of this game, I think it rivals the 'take a safety' from the Super Bowl a few years back," Tucker added. "The execution was just spot on. You close the game out on special teams, I think we all enjoyed that."

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