The Ravens managed to secure a win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday to keep their playoff hopes strong, but the day didn’t pass without a major infusion of anxiety to close out the game.
Up 27-17 midway through the fourth quarter, Baltimore made it all the way back to the Eagles’ 11-yard line after a 54-yard gain from a short pass from Joe Flacco to Mike Wallace. Up until this point, Flacco had fumbled the ball away once, but had otherwise had proven consistent enough throughout, and even grabbed a 20-14 lead for his team at the end of the first half with a touchdown toss to Steve Smith Sr.
But there in the fourth quarter, the game became “a little too exciting,” as later described by Coach John Harbaugh. Nearly in the Red Zone, Joe Flacco followed offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s call for a passing play. It was promptly picked off by Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks.
The Eagles proceeded to kick a field goal on that drive back down the field, and then threw for a touchdown on the final drive of the game, putting them down one with a chance to tie it up at 27. Luckily, they went for the 2-point conversion and failed, giving the Ravens a much-needed 27-26 win to put them at 8-6 with two games left.
After the game, Harbaugh took ownership of the questionable play call. “I like an aggressive mindset, but that was way too aggressive,” he said, per NFL.com. “It’s the worst play call we’ve had, and it’s my fault.”
Flacco attempted to explain how it even happened. “I didn’t see that guy,” Flacco said, referring to Hicks. “I had my eyes down the middle of the field and then I came back, thought there was a hole to throw to Steve…Basically one-on-one with the corner. It got tight in there, and the guy went up and made the play.”
In the end, though, what matters is the win. And while Harbaugh set a self-identified all-time mark for worst play calls of his career, a couple key players reached some positive all-time milestones. Kicker Justin Tucker hit his 10th 50-plus-yard field goal of the year, tying a record set in 2012 by Minnesota Vikings rookie kicker Blair Walsh. Steve Smith, Sr., meanwhile, passed Indianapolis Colts legend Marvin Harrison for total receiving yards, moving into 7th on the all-time list.
The Ravens are now set to take on division rivals for their final two games – the Steelers in Week 15 and the Steelers in Week 15. The afore-stated goal is to win all three final games to lock in an AFC North win and a playoff spot, though they still stand a good chance of securing a Wild Card game even if they only win one of the final two.
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