John Harbaugh: We'll Go For It On 4th Down A Lot


The Ravens were trailing the Patriots by nine points early in the fourth quarter and were facing a fourth-and-1.

They could have opted for a 50-yard field goal, a distance within Justin Tucker's long range, but Head Coach John Harbaugh and Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron sent the offense back onto the field.

The Ravens were going for it.

It was a gutsy call, but one that ultimately didn't work out.

Baltimore brought reserve tackle Bryant McKinninie into the game and optioned to the line from fullback to provide additional size up front. Backup running back Bernard Pierce was also brought in to be the short-yardage grinder.

But McKinnie whiffed on his block and Pierce was stuffed for a 1-yard loss by Patriots safety Patrick Chung, and the Ravens turned the ball over on downs.

Afterwards, Harbaugh was asked to explain why he went for it instead of attempting the long field goal in hopes of cutting it to a one-score game with 10 minutes, 56 seconds remaining.

"I think we'll go for those a lot," Harbaugh said, showing his aggressive mentality. "I want to go for those. If the percentages tell you [we] should, it won't be very often that we don't go for those."

Harbaugh stressed that he thinks the Ravens should be very good on third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 situations. He said they have the offensive line and running backs to excel, as well as "one of the best play-action quarterbacks in football."

Quarterback Joe Flacco was pleased with the bold call, even with 20/20 hindsight.

"I'm sure that we could have done some better things there to get on that run," Flacco said. "But I love the fact that we went for it there and tried to continue to move the ball and put the ball in the end zone."

After the failed conversion, a gripe that ran immediately on Twitter was that the Ravens had given the handoff to backup Pierce instead of Pro Bowler Ray Rice. Rice had just touched the ball on three straight possessions and came off the field.

"How surprised was I about fourth-and-1?" Rice said. "We won the game. That's all that matters. Bernard Pierce is 230 pounds. I'm 210 pounds. So the moral of the story is we won the game."

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