OWINGS MILLS, Md. — It is the play that is the talk around the National Football League on Monday: John Harbaugh’s end of game decision to run the ball instead of run the clock.
With three seconds remaining in regulation and the Ravens up 23-7 Lamar Jackson picked up five yards rushing instead of kneeling to let time expire. That run gave the Ravens 102 rushing yards on Sunday to tie the NFL record for consecutive games with 100-plus yards on the ground: 43 straight contests.
Denver Head Coach Vic Fangio was foul about the play on Monday:
"I thought it was kind of bull---- but I expected it from them," he said. "37 years in pro ball I’ve never seen anything like that. That’s just their mode of operation there. Player safety is secondary."
Harbaugh’s response when asked about Fangio's comment on Monday:
"I promise you I’m not going to give that insult one second thought. What’s meaningful to us might not be meaningful to them. Their concerns are definitely not our concerns," he said.
Harbaugh added the Ravens didn’t expect to get the ball back at the end of the game but once they did, up by two touchdowns and pair of two-point conversions, he knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to get the record.
"I had already decided, we decided, that if we got the ball back we were going to try to get the yards and we got it back with three seconds left."
They did after an Anthony Averett interception in the end zone.
"You are throwing the ball in the end zone with ten seconds left, I don’t know that there is a 16-point touchdown that is going to be possible right there," said Harbaugh. "So, that didn’t have anything to do with winning the game."
The controversial ending threw a small shadow over one of Lamar Jackson’s best days passing the ball. He threw for 316 yards, 49 of which came on Marquise Brown’s highlight reel touchdown. The Broncos gameplan was to stop the run. Lamar answered with the throws. Harbaugh followed with some shade.
"That’s why we threw it so much. They were very determined to stop the run. Obviously that was a very important goal for those guys, to keep us 100 yards apparently. So, we threw it."