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John Harbaugh Not Apologizing For Fake Punt Call


Head Coach John Harbaugh has been aggressive all year, and for his entire career.

So even though Baltimore is having a difficult season, Harbaugh isn't about to take his foot off the gas.

With the Ravens trailing 14-7 and facing a fourth-and-9 from their own 17-yard line, punter Sam Koch tried to pull off a fake punt run.

Only problem was he was stopped 2 yards short. The Chiefs punched in another touchdown three plays later to take a 21-7 lead on the first play of the second quarter, on their way to an eventual 34-14 victory.

After the game, Harbaugh said the call "wasn't good" because it didn't work, but defended the reasoning that went into it and the in-game decision to try to pull it off.

"If you think that I'm going to go into a shell with this football team and not go for it – especially when we're down [14-7] – for one second, that's not who I am," Harbaugh said. "It hasn't been that way since 2008, and it's not going to be that way.

"So, if anybody wants to criticize us for going for it and being aggressive, have at it. I'm not apologizing for that."

Harbaugh's aggressiveness has paid off a lot more than it hasn't this season.

During the Ravens' Monday Night Football win in Cleveland earlier this year, Harbaugh called for a quarterback sneak on fourth-and-1 from his own 25-yard line and got it. Harbaugh got props for his “gutsy” call.

The Ravens have converted on fourth down a league-high 11 times. They've gone for it 19 times, tied for the most in the NFL with Atlanta. Baltimore's 57.9 percent success rate ranks ninth in the league.

As much as Harbaugh's gambles have worked out, they can't be expected to convert every time.

The Ravens tried to essentially catch the Chiefs napping and turning to run down the field too early. Koch faked like he was going to punt before tucking the ball away and running up the middle. His blocking was good but didn't hold up long enough.

After the game, multiple Chiefs players said their coaches put them on high alert for fakes by Baltimore's special teams unit.

"We were on high alert for any crazy stuff," said safety Daniel Sorensen, who tackled Koch. "I saw the punter take an extra step, and I turned around and met him to make the tackle. I was just about ready to run downfield, but that extra step made me stop."

Harbaugh didn't divulge whether Koch made the decision in the moment to try the fake or whether the call came from the sideline. The Ravens liked the look they got from Kansas City's punt team.

"We tried something there and it didn't work," Harbaugh said. "It was risky, gutsy, whatever you want to call it, but it wasn't a good call because it didn't work."

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