Tyler Huntley's goal-line fumble was the difference in the Ravens' 24-17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the wild-card playoffs.
The Ravens were on the cusp of taking the lead in the fourth quarter, facing a third-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Huntley tried to leap over the trenches and extend the ball over the goal line, but Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson met him and knocked the ball loose.
The fumble bounced into the hands of Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard and he returned it 98 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. That was the final score of the game and a dagger right when it looked like Baltimore was about to take control.
Afterwards, Head Coach John Harbaugh and Huntley explained the thought process on the play.
"We felt like we had a good call; it's a push-sneak play. It wasn't executed the right way," Harbaugh said. "Tyler went over the top; that's a 'burrow' play. He has to go low on that. That's the way the play is designed."
Huntley said the way the Bengals lined up tight on the goal-line play made him try to leap over the top.
"I saw everybody packed in, just tried to go over the top. I thought I cleared the line," Huntley said. "They just made a play and just happened to take it all the way back."
Huntley said he regrets the decision because if he hadn't leapt, even a fumble maybe wouldn't have resulted in a touchdown return the other way.
"At the time, I just felt like everybody was packed in, they shot for our linemen's legs, the 'backers felt pretty good up at the line. I just tried to make a play," Huntley said.
"I'm going to be thinking about that the whole offseason, how just one play, they won the game. It's going to be hard, but it's going to motivate me to grind hard, work hard, and be ready for next year."
Otherwise, Huntley played arguably his best game of the season with the stakes the highest. He threw an interception on his second pass of the game, but settled in after that, finishing 17-of-29 for 226 yards and two touchdowns. He also had nine runs for 54 yards starting in place of Lamar Jackson.
"He played his heart out," said tight end Mark Andrews, who tried valiantly to try to catch Hubbard from behind on the 98-yard return.
"I think anybody that watches this game is going to look at Tyler Huntley and say, 'Wow, this guy is playing hard and playing good ball.' You have to take your hat off to him. He's just going to continue to learn and get better and better and better. I love that guy."