John Harbaugh Isn't Apologizing For Fake-Field Goal Decision


The "Monday Morning Quarterbacks" will likely be out again in Baltimore.

Another aggressive call didn't pay off for the Ravens Sunday in a 16-10 loss to the Redskins, but Head Coach John Harbaugh won't be among those questioning the decision.

"It was an aggressive call," Harbaugh said after the game. "I'm not second-guessing it. You can second-guess it, but I'm not second-guessing it.

"I've stood up here for nine years and said we're going to be aggressive. People are going to have to defend fakes, they're going to have to defend us going for it on fourth down – that's just the way we're going to play because that's what we believe in."

The Ravens called for a fake field goal in the second quarter while leading by four points. Kicker Justin Tucker's pass was incomplete, leaving a potential three points off the board.

In a six-point loss, three points in that situation would have meant the Ravens needed just a field goal on their final drive to send the game into overtime. Instead, they drove to Washington's 21-yard line but still needed a touchdown.

On the flip side, a successful fake could have led to a touchdown that would have given the Ravens a one-point lead at the end of the game. And the Ravens have often been successful in past years when rolling the dice.

It didn't work out Sunday.

The Ravens were leading, 10-6, with four minutes, 34 seconds left in the first half. They had just recovered a fumble at the Redskins' 15-yard line, putting them in position to take a stronghold on the game considering the way the defense was playing.

The offense went backwards, however, and Baltimore faced a fourth-and-12 from the 17. It would have been a 34-yard field goal for Tucker.

Tucker said the Ravens got the look they wanted from the Redskins, which triggered the decision to attempt the fake.

Tucker lined up as if he was going to kick left footed. It doesn't seem the Redskins picked up on the oddity because cornerback Josh Norman, Washington's edge field goal blocker, still crashed toward the middle. He recovered fast enough, however, to pressure Tucker.

Lining up the opposite way gave Tucker an easier roll out to his right and allowed him to not throw across his body. It would have been more difficult to roll left and throw right handed.

"Our thinking was that if our guys in practice didn't notice it, and we have some smart players on the other side of the ball, then we'd have a chance to put one over on somebody on game day," Tucker said.

Tucker was forced to make an off-balance throw and it came up short, hitting safety Duke Ihenacho in the helmet and falling incomplete.

Tucker would have had an easier throw had his intended target, tight end Crockett Gillmore, not stumbled coming off the line. After the game, Gillmore said he doesn't know what tripped him up.

"We had the thing executed when we got out there, but Crockett stumbled a little bit, or he would have been clean," Harbaugh said. "He would have been wider [open]."

Tucker said the Ravens had practiced that play for five years, and were just waiting for their opportunity to spring it. He said the crosswind at the stadium did not affect the throw or the decision to go for it.

He said the last time he threw a pass in a game was in high school on a botched extra-point attempt, but prides himself on being able to do more than just kick. Tucker often works on throwing the ball in practice.

"I think I could've thrown a stronger ball in there, not laid it up in there," Tucker said.

Check out the best photos from M&T Bank Stadium as the Ravens battle the Redskins!

"Their edge-rusher made a pretty quick adjustment after coming off the ball. … So you have to give them credit for sniffing it out when they did. It wasn't too late on their side."

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