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Harbaugh calls play that didn't work "All-time worst call ever"

Harbaugh calls play that didn't work "All-time worst call ever"

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.   

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Watch the moment Lamar Jackson told John Harbaugh to go for it on fourth down

Watch the moment Lamar Jackson told John Harbaugh to go for it on fourth down

With the game tied late in the third quarter and the Ravens facing a fourth-and-2 from the Seattle eight-yard line, Baltimore had a decision to make.

Initially, the Ravens sent out kicker Justin Tucker to attempt a chip-shot field goal. But as quarterback Lamar Jackson trotted off the sidelines, head coach John Harbaugh had a question for him.

"Do you want to go for that?" the head coach asked his second-year quarterback.

Jackson didn't hesitate. He responded enthusiastically, telling Harbaugh, "Hell yeah, Coach. Let's go for it!"

He then turned to his teammates, asking them, "Do you want to go for it? Let's go!"

Baltimore called a timeout and dialed up a brilliant play-call on the decisive down. Lined up in a heavy, three tight end formation, Jackson took a direct snap eight yards, not just getting the first down but also finding the end zone to give the Ravens the lead.

The touchdown would put the Ravens ahead for good, as they left Seattle with an impressive, 30-16 road victory.

 At 5-2, Baltimore is sitting comfortably in first place in the AFC North, as they have a well-timed bye week before playing host to the undefeated Patriots in two weeks.

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Ravens defense slows down torrid Seahawks in convincing road win

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Ravens defense slows down torrid Seahawks in convincing road win

As Marlon Humphrey scooped up a fumble and ran into the end zone, his teammates followed closely behind to take a group picture. 

After all, they deserved it.

The Ravens defense held MVP-candidate Russell Wilson at bay for most of Sunday’s game in Seattle, and the offense was able to do enough for a 30-16 victory. 

“I felt like nobody really thought we could win,” Marlon Humphrey said. “I think there’s not been many games I felt like, really in my whole career, that no one really felt we could win.”

While Lamar Jackson stole the show, the Ravens defense played its best game of the season when the team needed it most

Marcus Peters, the team's newest addition, returned an interception for a touchdown in the second quarter, and capped with Humphrey’s scoop-and-score, the Ravens' defense nearly outscored the Seahawks offense by itself. 

“I’m just here to do my part, and my part is whatever they tell me to do,” Peters said. “If it’s to go run into a wall, I go run into a wall. I’m not here to complain about nothing, just keep doing my job.”

Wilson, who hadn’t thrown an interception all season before Peters’ pick, was held to 241 yards on 20-of-41 passing. He didn’t eclipse 200 yards until the outcome was no longer in doubt. Over the Seahawks' final five drives, they scored just three total points.

The Ravens’ in-season additions — Josh Bynes, L.J. Fort, Jihad Ward and Peters — played significant roles Sunday. 

Fort had an excellent open field tackle in the first quarter on Wilson, Bynes led the team in tackles with eight, Ward was in the rotation on defense and Peters had his pick six. 

“Those guys were good selections,” coach John Harbaugh said. “They were just good football choices by our personnel department, led by Eric. We were really stabilized by Josh Bynes and by L.J. Fort. They know how to play, they know how to play the position and they got us calmed down.”

The leader of the defense, however, and the one every Raven played for, was Earl Thomas.

In his return to Seattle, he was the vocal leader on a defense that slowed down one of the NFL’s best teams.

“I told him, ‘We’re going to win it for you,’” Lamar Jackson said. “‘I know you’ve been here years, this is your original home and we’ve got your back.’” 

Thomas didn’t register a ton on the statsheet, but his presence was certainly felt by the Ravens all week long. 

“All week, really, we kept saying, ‘We got you, Earl, we got you,’” Humphrey said. “Seahawks moved on from him, and I think everyone knew they felt like he didn’t have it anymore, that it wasn’t like a happy go-away. It was more like, ‘You don’t got it anymore, we don’t really want you.’ It’s just a game, but for Earl, it’s a little bit more.”

The Ravens defense has seemingly found its stride after a rocky patch against the Cardinals, Chiefs and Browns. 

Tougher opponents await, namely the Patriots after the bye week. But for now, the Ravens defense has nothing to hang its head about.

“For us to come in and get this victory, with Earl on our team, it was really big,” Humphrey said.

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