BALTIMORE – Ravens coach John Harbaugh did not hold back, when asked what he thought of offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s play call that led to Joe Flacco’s fourth-quarter interception Sunday.
“All-time worst call ever,” said Harbaugh, after the Ravens barely held on to beat the Eagles, 27-26. “I’ll take responsibility for it. I should have vetoed it right away. I like an aggressive mindset, but that was way too aggressive. It’s the worst play call we’ve had, and it’s my fault. “
Harbaugh took the blame, but Mornhinweg made the call. And the sudden change in momentum almost cost the Ravens the game.
The Ravens were leading, 27-17, and had first-and-10 at the Eagles’ 11, with just 6:17 left to play. They could have easily called three running plays, burned a couple of minutes off the clock, and at worst kicked a field goal. Instead, they passed. It became a disastrous play, when Joe Flacco didn’t see Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks, who made an easy interception.
No touchdown. No field goal. And the Eagles had life. They roared back for a field goal, then a touchdown, and only an Eagles failed two-point conversion with four seconds to play kept the Ravens from suffering a crushing defeat.
Not everyone in the Ravens locker room was ready to bash the play. Flacco said he loved Mornhinweg’s aggressive mindset in that situation.
“To be honest with you, my thought was, ‘Shoot, Marty is going to give me a third touchdown pass on the day,’’’ Flacco said. “I was kind of happy about it at that point, I mean, being selfish, but you’ve got to just take care of the football and it’s a non-issue.’’
But once Flacco threw the interception, it became a major issue. And since Mornhinweg only became offensive coordinator in Week 6, after Marc Trestman was fired, it raised even more speculation as to whether Mornhinweg would return next season.
After the game, the Ravens were simply relieved to win. Nobody may have been more relieved than Mornhinweg.