It was late in the third quarter and the Ravens were about to settle for a third field goal after driving deep into Seahawks territory.
That was until Head Coach John Harbaugh saw how ticked off Lamar Jackson was about it. As the Ravens’ quarterback and MVP candidate came off the field, Harbaugh called him over.
“I could just see it on his face. He was really upset,” Harbaugh said. “I asked him. I said, ‘You want to go for it?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, I want to go for it! Let’s get it!’”
Harbaugh was told that veteran Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda said, “If he wants to go for it, I want to go for it!’” Harbaugh felt the same way, so he jogged down the sideline and called a timeout. Instead of likely taking a 16-13 lead, Harbaugh bet on his guys.
On fourth-and-2 from the Seahawks’ 8-yard line, in the face of CenturyLink Field’s loudest section, Harbaugh kept his offense on the field.
Jackson and a creative play-call made it pay off. Using “quarterback power,” Jackson found a hole behind several blockers along the right side of the offensive line and drove into the end zone.
Ravens Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman told Jackson earlier in the week that if they got into the red zone, he was going to put the ball in his hands to make a play. The Ravens only needed two yards for a first down. Jackson, however, had his eyes on the end zone.
“I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m not going to get it right now. We need to score,’” Jackson said.
The Ravens used a play that Roman fought to keep in the game-plan. The play requires Jackson to run between the tackles – leaving him more susceptible to a tough hit and injury.
Baltimore brought fullback Patrick Ricard across the formation to provide an extra blocker at the point of attack and pulled left guard Bradley Bozeman around to the right side as well. It created a wall of four blockers that Jackson cut behind.
“It’s just a really well-designed play,” Harbaugh said. “During the week I was like, ‘I just want to make sure you know. This is Lamar running inside.’ [Roman] goes, ‘Only in a critical situation. Only when we need it the most.’ So there you go. It was a critical situation and I give G-Ro a lot of credit.”
There was no shortage of “game-changing moments” in Sunday’s game, but the Ravens’ aggressiveness – and contrast between it and the Seahawks’ Pete Carroll decision-making just earlier – was certainly among them.
On the preceeding Seahawks drive, facing a fourth-and-3 from Baltimore’s 35-yard line and in the rain, Carroll sent out his kicker. Jason Myers booted the 53-yard attempt wide right, and the Ravens drove back down the field to take the lead for good on fourth-and-2.
Cornerback Marlon Humphrey said even the defensive players were lobbying to go for it on fourth down, confident they could get a stop if the offense didn’t pick up the first down.
“I love the aggression. I think the one thing that I can say Harbs does is he’s a players’ coach,” Humphrey said.
“When you have the offense and defense both thinking like that and a head coach that wants to win and listens to his players, along with himself and his heart, you can do some good things. I felt like from there we were all rolling and just moving on one accord.”
Jackson was fired up more than usual in Sunday’s game, and when he crossed the goal line, he let out a huge scream and spiked the ball before he was mobbed by his offensive linemen. It was a moment that the 2019 Ravens won’t forget.
In a hostile environment, against a team not many people thought they would beat, the Ravens went for it and scored big. Jackson was asked if the play took the Ravens to another level.
“It did. That gave our defense more confidence to stop those guys, the offensive line great confidence,” Jackson said. “It just gave the whole team confidence. Even the coaches were pumped up. We just have to do that week in and week out. We can’t be stopped, I feel, if we play our game.”
Check out the best photos from the Ravens' game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on October 20, 2019.