Media Shares Opinion on Another Ravens 2-Point Attempt
The Ravens faced a 14-point deficit with 9:30 remaining in the fourth quarter after Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby knocked through a 29-yard field goal. What followed was another comeback attempt by the Ravens with backup quarterback Tyler Huntley leading the charge.
Huntley and the offense drove down the field and the quarterback capped back-to-back drives with rushing touchdowns.
Even before the second touchdown, pundits could see it coming. Head Coach John Harbaugh went for two and the win again.
But for second time in three weeks, the attempt was snuffed out as Huntley's pass to tight end Mark Andrews was broken up, leaving the Packers with a 31-30 win
Yet again, the decision to go for the win on with a two-point conversion, instead of attempting an extra point and try for overtime, dominated the postgame discussion.
There were those who liked the decision…
"It is 100-percent the right call, decision-wise, to go for two there. Going into that game, did any of you guys honestly think the Ravens had a chance to win the football game?" ESPN’s Dan Orlovsky said. "You were down 10 in the fourth quarter. 'So we have a chance to steal the game.' Mark Andrews had not been covered all game. He was dominant. So why would you not get the ball to your best player?"
… And those who didn't like the decision.
A lot of those who liked the decision said so with the caveat of disliking the ensuing play call, including Sports Illustrated’s Gary Gramling.
"You can criticize the playcall, a sprint out that cut the field in half and simplified things against a Packers defense that couldn't get out of its own way in the fourth quarter," Gramling wrote. "But, with your backup quarterback and an injury-ravaged offensive line and secondary, your odds against Aaron Rodgers in OT are not good."
"The play was god awful," ESPN’s Rex Ryan said. "If [Huntley] dropped back he could've taken off. We saw him do it twice in the redzone."
Should Ravens Have Gone for Two Earlier?
Another debate that sprung from last night's game was about whether the Ravens actually should have gone for a two-point conversion after their first of two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Trailing by eight points with 4:47 remaining, the Ravens opted to kick the extra point. Then they went for the win after the second touchdown.
If the Ravens had opted to go for two after the first touchdown, they would have either gotten it and had an opportunity to win the game with a touchdown and extra point on the final possession or, if they didn't get it, been able to tie the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion.
The analytics experts also chimed in with their thoughts and the numbers.
Calls For Harbaugh to Win Coach of the Year Continue
The debate on the two-point conversion attempt will be discussed endlessly, as noted above, but others recognized that a Ravens team missing Lamar Jackson, its entire starting secondary and more just went toe-to-toe with an NFC juggernaut.
This is far from the first time Harbaugh's received calls for Coach of the Year this season, as the Ravens have overcome adversity at every measure.
Media Calls Mark Andrews the Best Tight End in the NFL
By the end of the first half on Sunday, Andrews was leaving defenders in his wake and media members questioning the Packers' strategy to slow him down.
"Mark Andrews is making a strong case right now to be crowned the NFL's best tight end," Schwartz wrote.
"Mark Andrews followed up an 11-target, 11-catch performance in Week 14 with another gem on Sunday," King wrote. "Andrews caught 10 balls for 136 yards and two touchdowns in the close loss to the Packers. He's now 15 catches shy of 100 for the season, even with the QB yo-yoing in Baltimore."
Peter King Names Tyler Huntley His Offensive Player of the Week
The media made sure to not overlook Huntley's four-touchdown performance in the losing affair, including NFL.com's Kevin Patra and Jelani Scott.
"This wasn't some rink-a-dink defense Huntley carved up either, with the Packers entering ranked in the top 10 in scoring D, total yards, rushing and passing yards allowed," Patra wrote. "Baltimore's offense gobbled up 354 total yards and 24 first downs while punting just once. Huntley completed 28 of 40 passes (70%) for 215 yards and two TDs while adding 13 rushes for 73 yards and two more scores. With the backup QB leading the show, the Ravens offense has looked as good as it has in months."
Patra continued: "For Huntley, it proved his first start wasn't a fluke and, in the right offense, he can be an effective playmaker."
The acknowledgement didn't cease there, as Huntley was named an Offensive Player of the Week by King.
"This is not just a good, young backup quarterback we're watching," King wrote. "This 2020 undrafted QB from Utah has proven that if he takes care of the ball, he's a good candidate to be a starter at some point in his life. On Sunday, Huntley went head-to-head with the great Aaron Rodgers, put up 30 points, came back from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to nearly win this game, losing only on a failed two-point play in the final minute. For the day, the 23-year-old Huntley produced four touchdowns and didn't turn the ball over."
"Greg Roman did a nice job scheming some looks for him and the Packers did a terrible job containing him—right now Huntley probably still profiles as a long-term backup," Gramling wrote. "But how many quarterbacks would be able to not only protect themselves behind a scotch-taped offensive line, but consistently create time and space and then deliver on-target throws late in the down like Huntley did on Sunday? The way Huntley played the past two weeks would be a marked improvement under center for about a fifth of the teams in the NFL at the moment."
Bengals' Eli Apple Calls Out Lamar Jackson with a Divisional Matchup Looming
Not long after the Bengals' and Ravens' respective games, players turned their attention to their Week 16 matchup. For Mark Andrews, it was a minute into the postgame press conference saying, "we're onto Bengals already." Meanwhile, Bengals cornerback Eli Apple had already fired off a trio of tweets to get the bad blood boiling.
This is a game that doesn't need any forced hype as the AFC North race is as tight as it could be.
"The AFC North is separated by a half-game from top to bottom: Cincinnati 8-6, Baltimore 8-6, Cleveland 7-6, Pittsburgh 7-6-1," King wrote. "This morning, the Browns are the conference's ninth seed. A win over the Raiders at home tonight vaults Cleveland from nine to four, from out of the playoffs to first place in the division and a miniscule lead for the division title and wild-card home game."
This is the second-straight year a Bengals player has called out the Ravens on Twitter before their second matchup. Last season, it was Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt.
The Ravens soundly defeated the Bengals, 38-3, and Pratt was stiff-armed by Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins before scoring a 72-yard rushing touchdown.