Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

John Harbaugh knew he was in four-down territory

Chris Simms and Kathryn Tappen break down Lamar Jackson's unique style of play that led to a nail-biting Ravens win over the Chiefs in Week 2 on Sunday Night Football.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh could be seen yelling, “Lamar, you want to go for this?” just before Baltimore sealed its win on Sunday Night Football with a fourth-down conversion. But Harbaugh says he didn’t really need to ask.

Harbaugh told Albert Breer of that his mind was made up: He wanted Lamar Jackson to win the game right there, not punt the ball back to Patrick Mahomes.

“I already knew we were going for it but it was just kinda … I just wanted to make sure,” Harbaugh said. “I really didn’t have an answer [if he didn’t say yes], but I think more than anything I just wanted to make sure he knew we were going for it because he was kinda moving back toward the sideline, and he was talking to somebody. Just wanted to make sure he was back in the huddle ready to go. And maybe he already knew we were going for it.”

Analytics research has shown conclusively that NFL teams should almost always go for it on fourth-and-1, and certainly should go for it on fourth-and-1 when your options are either trusting the NFL’s best running quarterback to gain a yard, or giving the NFL’s best passing quarterback a chance to beat you. Harbaugh made the right call.