The Baltimore Ravens lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 5 in dramatic fashion, failing to convert a would-be game-winning two-point conversion at the end of the fourth quarter.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson‘s pass fell just out of reach for tight end Mark Andrews, sending the Ravens back to Baltimore with their fourth loss, though they still have a one-game lead in the AFC North.
But some eagle-eyed viewers noticed that Steelers defensive tackle Montravius Adams could have been lined up offsides on the play, which would’ve given the Ravens another chance at the conversion.
Adams’ hand appears to be even with the football, which would result in a neutral zone infraction, advancing the Ravens to the one-yard line.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was asked if he heard from the officials or the NFL about the seemingly missed call, and he didn’t mince words with his response:
No, I didn’t hear anything afterwards. I haven’t heard anything from the league…When a guy is lined up that far – I saw the picture – that far in the neutral zone, you’d certainly expect that to get called, though.
The Ravens would have needed just one yard to escape Pittsburgh with their ninth win and maintain possession of first place in the AFC. Instead, they were left reeling from the stinging defeat, with injuries to All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey and starting right tackle Patrick Mekari.
Steelers’ Tomlin Calls Ravens ‘Predictable’
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters after the game that he expected the Ravens to go for two in that situation.
“They aggressively play analytics, so from that standpoint, they’re predictable,” said Tomlin, per Warren Sharp.
But Tomlin’s defense still seemed unprepared for the two-point attempt, forcing the Steelers to call a timeout before the Ravens could snap the ball.
Interestingly, Next Gen Stats’ analytics gave Baltimore a 7.6% better chance of winning the game if they kicked the extra point, given Ravens kicker Justin Tucker’s consistency on extra points this season. Tucker hasn’t missed an extra point in 2021, and he’s only failed to convert four in his entire career.
But Humphrey’s injury and the Steelers’ near-unstoppable offense in the fourth quarter impacted Harbaugh’s decision to attempt the conversion.
He told media today that he was planning to go for two from the start of the Ravens’ scoring drive late in the fourth quarter.
Veteran Defenders Back Aggressive Decision
Ravens linebacker Josh Bynes said that he supported Harbaugh’s decision, saying, “He’s aggressive. He wanted to win the game.”
Bynes also pointed out that Harbaugh would have been praised for the decision if it was successful, and only received criticism since the attempt failed.
“Like I said before, if we converted that two-point conversion, it’d be a whole different conversation we’d be having right now,” said Bynes, adding that he appreciated Harbaugh’s aggressiveness in a crucial AFC North matchup.
Defensive tackle Brandon Williams echoed Bynes’ confidence in Harbaugh and the Ravens offense, saying, “We believe in our players. We believe in our team…We’d do it a thousand more times.”
While the Ravens certainly hope they don’t face a similar situation again this season, there’s no doubt that Harbaugh would pull the trigger on the two-point conversion to win the game.