Aaron Rodgers Offers Thoughts on Ravens’ Failed 2-Point Attempt

Packers Aaron Rodgers

Getty Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers attempts a pass against the Baltimore Ravens on December 19.

The Baltimore Ravens lost to the Green Bay Packers in heartbreaking fashion on December 19, failing to convert a two-point conversion with 42 seconds left in the game.

The Ravens scored back-to-back touchdowns in the fourth quarter to cut the Packers’ lead to just one point, and for the second time in three weeks, Baltimore opted to attempt to go for the win rather than kick the extra point and hope to win in overtime.

Though Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was widely criticized for the decision, his opponents appeared to agree with Harbaugh’s aggressiveness.

“I respect it,” said Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, per the Ravens’ Ryan Mink. 

Rodgers noted that the Ravens have made similarly bold decisions all season, including in Week 14 against the Cleveland Browns.

“They just didn’t feel like they could stop us,” added Rodgers, who passed for 268 yards and three touchdowns against a heavily-depleted Baltimore secondary.

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur told media after the game that he “absolutely would have” gone for two if he was in Harbaugh’s place, per Jonas Shaffer of The Baltimore Sun.

“That’s what we anticipate as a coaching staff,” continued LaFleur, “And sure enough, they did it.”

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin also told media on December 5 that he predicted the Ravens’ two-point attempt in a similar situation in Week 13. The Ravens failed that attempt as well, losing the game by a single point.

2-Point Playcall Criticized

Another predictable element of the Ravens’ two-point attempt was the playcall. Baltimore dialed up a play that eagle-eyed fans will recognize, with quarterback Tyler Huntley sprinting out to his right in search of tight end Mark Andrews. The Ravens have used this concept in many short-yardage situations, including on a failed two-point conversion against the Cleveland Browns in Week 14.

Packers linebacker De’Vondre Campbell explained that the Packers were prepared for the Ravens to target Andrews on the fateful two-point attempt.

“We know that’s their No. 1 receiver coming into the game,” said Campbell, adding, “but we were able to make a play when it matter most.”

But alternate angles of the attempt reveal that the playcall may not have been as bad as initially thought, as the Ravens may have had two other options to win the game.

Ravens wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown appeared to be wide open in the back of the end zone. Huntley told media after the game that he didn’t see Brown on the play, indicating that he was laser-focused on finding Andrews.

Huntley may have also had a chance to take the ball across the goal line himself, as Ravens offensive linemen Bradley Bozeman and Kevin Zeitler appeared to open a seam for Huntley before he passed the ball.

Harbaugh Thought About Play ‘All Night’

Though Harbaugh has repeatedly defended his aggressive decisions this season, he admitted on December 20 that the failed conversion stuck with him after the game.

“I’ve thought about it all night, of course you do,” said Harbaugh, who said that he understood criticism for the call.

“I know half the people are going to say we should’ve kicked it. I get it; they can certainly criticize me for it,” he continued, “I’m OK with that, I criticize myself for it.”

Harbaugh did receive support from his players in their comments after the game.

Along with Andrews, linebacker Patrick Queen was emphatic in standing by his coach:

 “I’ve got all the faith in Coach. I’m his player. I’m going to stand beside him and fight. So, if that’s what he felt was needed to be done, then that’s what needed to be done, so it’s a great call. If we make that play, that’s a game that we could win, so I stand beside Coach on that decision.”

A few former Ravens who previously played for Harbaugh voiced their support as well.

Ex-Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith disagreed with the specific playcall, tweeting, “I hate sprint outs as a two point play though,” but still said that attempting the conversion was the “right decision.”

Robert Griffin III echoed Rodgers’ comments, tweeting, “Respect it.”

Harbaugh’s former players know that he’s willing to take criticism for bold decisions if he thinks it gives his team a better chance to win, and this season, he’s putting that attitude on display for the entire NFL to see.