John Harbaugh Explains Decision to Go for Two-Point Conversion Early

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh watches during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Cleveland.

For the second straight week, a two-point conversion was the difference in a Ravens loss. And for the second straight week, the decision will be debated.

Head Coach John Harbaugh opted to go for two after the Ravens' first fourth-quarter touchdown with 8:56 remaining and the Ravens trailing by nine points.

If the Ravens converted the two-pointer, they would know they needed just a touchdown and extra point to tie. If they didn't, it would remain a two-possession game. If they kicked the extra point, they would need a touchdown and two-point conversion later.

The attempt, a rollout pass by Tyler Huntley, was intercepted by Browns safety Grant Delpit, meaning the Ravens still needed two scores.

Pundits, including the CBS postgame crew of Bill Cowher, Boomer Esiason, and Phil Simms, questioned why Harbaugh wouldn't go for two later in the game.

"It's pretty much standard, really a non-decision," Harbaugh said. "You do it at that point in time because you're going to have to win a two-point conversion. So you understand if you get it or don't get it early where you're at going from there, how many possessions you're going to need and what you're going to have to do. If you wait until the last two-point conversion and you don't get it, the game is over, you've lost."

It's a clock management strategy. It's best to know earlier as opposed to later how much of a hurry you have to be in the rest of the way.

The Ravens scored their second touchdown with 1:17 remaining in the game, then recovered an onside kick but weren't able to move into range for Justin Tucker. And in the end, Baltimore was left again wishing it had one more successful two-point conversion.

"They just ended up zoning us. We had a man concept on and they zoned us," Huntley said. "They just made a good play, good call."

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