John Harbaugh Reevaluating Aggressiveness On Fourth Down


Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh likes to be aggressive on offense.

When his team is deep in enemy territory and faces a fourth-and-short situation, Harbaugh typically leans towards going for it. As he has said before, studies on scoring probability in those situations suggest that it's worth the risk.

But when faced with a struggling success rate as the Ravens have had so far this year, Harbaugh said on Monday that he may have to reevaluate his aggressiveness.

The Ravens went for it on fourth-and-1 from the Indianapolis 3-yard line during the second quarter on Sunday. Quarterback Joe Flacco was sacked, resulting in a turnover on downs.

So far this season, the Ravens are 3-for-6 in fourth-and-short situations, defined as fourth down with less than four yards to go. That 50 percent success rate ranks as tied for 18th in the league.

Harbaugh said he stands by going for it in Sunday's situation, but he may not always make the same decision going forward.

"We don't know if we'll always go for it in the future," Harbaugh said.

"Certainly not making it starts to make me think maybe we ought to kick a few more. I've got to be honest about that. You earn the right to go for it."

The Colts had a rather clever play call in the situation. They blitzed safety Sergio Brown off the right edge, and instead dropped the outside linebacker, who had his hand in the dirt, into coverage.

Brown raced past tight end Owen Daniels, and left tackle James Hurst couldn't get back fast enough to cut him off before he enveloped Flacco, who mildly faked a handoff before taking a deep drop.

"It wasn't the wrong thing to go for it. The wrong thing was not getting it," Harbaugh said.

The Ravens were trailing by just three points at the time and had a chance for a touchdown. Had they gotten that touchdown, it could have made a big difference in the game considering the Colts ended up winning by seven points, 20-13. As such, even if the Ravens had gotten the three points, it wouldn't have made a difference on the final offensive drive of the game.

"Turned out that we needed a touchdown, so maybe in hindsight, that was the right decision to go for it," Harbaugh said. "I felt like it was going to be somewhat of a high-scoring game. It didn't end up not being as high scoring as we thought because we kept them out of the end zone."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content