John Harbaugh Explains Why Ravens Went for Rushing Record Instead of Taking a Knee

QB Lamar Jackson

The Ravens don't play the game to set records, but when there's one within reach and a victory is already in hand, you bet they're going for it.

Baltimore needed three yards to tie the NFL record of 43 consecutive games with 100 rushing yards or more, set by the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1974-77. The Ravens had just one play to do it at the end of the game.

So instead of taking a knee, Baltimore lined up and put the ball in Lamar Jackson's hands. Jackson scampered around the left edge to pick up five yards before falling to the turf, putting the Ravens at 102 yards and ending the game with a 23-7 victory in Empower Field at Mile High.

"One hundred percent my call," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "That's one of those things that's meaningful. It's one of those things that, as a head coach, you've got to be mindful of your team and your players and your coaches and what it means to them.

"It's a very, very tough record to accomplish and it's a long-term record. I'm not going to say it's more important than winning the game, for sure. It's certainly not. But as a head coach, I think you do that for your players and you do that for your coaches and that's something they'll have for the rest of their lives."

The Ravens didn't get a lot going on the ground for much of the day, as running backs Latavius Murray, Le'Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman combined for 74 yards on 23 carries (3.2 yards average).

Jackson only ran seven times for 28 yards, but his final 5-yard carry put the Ravens over the top.

"Whenever you're in the record books, it's important," wide receiver Marquise Brown said.

Jackson said Quarterbacks Coach James Urban told him on the sideline before the play that Harbaugh was thinking about going for it. After cornerback Anthony Averett made an end zone interception to end the Broncos' final drive with three seconds left, Baltimore had its shot.

"I'm happy we got the [win]," Jackson said. "I'm not going to lie. I didn't even care about the record."

Not everyone will look at it the same way, but there are a lot of people that contributed to that record who will remember it and reminisce about it for a long time.

Considering the Ravens lost both of their top running backs (J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards) to season-ending injuries before the start of the season and still rank third in the league in rushing yards per game (164.5), they certainly earned the record.

Denver entered the game with the No. 2-ranked run defense in the NFL. While Jackson and the passing game carried the load Sunday in Denver, Murray got the Ravens' scoring started with an 11-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Baltimore will have a chance to break the Steelers' record next week on Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts, who have surrendered 114 rushing yards per game through four weeks.

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