Former NFL Coach Rex Ryan Blasts John Harbaugh’s Controversial 2-Point Conversion Call: ‘I Hated the Play’

With Lamar Jackson out against one of the top teams in the NFL in the Green Bay Packers, the likelihood of the Baltimore Ravens winning on Sunday seemed pretty low. But they had a chance with under a minute left in the game.

However, after scoring what should have been the game-tying touchdown with 42 seconds left, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh elected to go for the win by attempting a 2-point conversion. The call didn’t work in Baltimore’s favor, though, and they lost 31-30, which has since resulted in Harbaugh receiving a ton of criticism.

Among his loudest critics so far? Former NFL coach Rex Ryan, who was actually Harbaugh’s defensive coordinator in 2008.

The Baltimore Ravens attempted a game-winning 2-point conversion against the Packers

It looked like the Packers were about to run away with things in their Week 15 matchup with the Ravens. Lamar Jackson was out, and Green Bay took a 31-17 lead with under 10 minutes left.

However, after scoring a touchdown to make it 31-24 with 4:47 remaining, Baltimore got a stop and then scored again on a Tyler Huntley touchdown rush to make it a one-point game with 42 seconds left. Instead of going for the game-tying extra-point kick, though, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh chose to go for two.

The play consisted of Huntley (who has proven to be a quarterback teams should want to trade for) rolling to his right and throwing it to tight end Mark Andrews in the end zone. But the pass fell incomplete, and the Packers won 31-30.

The call was certainly questionable since the Ravens had all the momentum in the game. Rex Ryan, however, not only disliked the decision, but he also hated the play call.

Rex Ryan blasted John Harbaugh’s decision

Former New York Jets coach Rex Ryan and Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh in 2011.
New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan (from left) and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh on Oct. 2, 2011. | Christopher T. Assaf/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Rex Ryan has never been afraid to give his opinion, whether it was during his coaching career or now while making regular appearances on ESPN.

And on Dec. 20, he had a lot to say about his former colleague’s decision to go for the 2-point conversion.

“I hated the play,” Ryan said on Get Up. “You have two options: You either run the ball, or you’re throwing it to Andrews. I get Andrews is great, but put it in the drop-back game. I want the whole field. And when you sprint out … you’ve got a quarter of the field. You have a quarter of the field to throw to, and you only have one receiver in there.”

Ryan said a questionable part about Harbaugh’s decision was that the Ravens had the momentum, unlike when they went for two points against the Steelers in Week 13. So, they essentially should have trusted their defense to get a stop and force overtime.

“You had scored the last 13 points, and you have the greatest kicker in the history of our sport; their (the Packers) kicker has been awful this year. So, to me, I would have taken my chances,” Ryan said.

The former New York Jets head coach then later doubled down on his hatred for the play call, saying, “The play was godawful.”

But all in all, he made some good points. The Ravens’ offense was rolling, and their defense had held the Packers to a field goal after Green Bay had started with the ball at the Baltimore 29-yard line. It then forced a punt on the Packers’ next possession.

Instead of trusting that team that had been playing well, though, Harbaugh went for two and failed, which has since put the Ravens on the outside looking in of the playoffs.

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John Harbaugh’s decision to go for two cost the Ravens tremendously. They went from holding the No. 1 spot in their division and a top-four seed in the AFC to now sitting at eighth in the conference, which is one spot outside of the playoffs.

According to The New York Times, the Ravens had a 70% chance of making the postseason heading into their game against the Packers. However, their loss to Green Bay lowered the likelihood of that happening to 54%. Baltimore’s schedule doesn’t get easier, either, as it still has to play the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals, the Los Angeles Rams, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

No matter how you look at it, John Harbaugh’s decision was a costly one. But it may have done a lot more than just lose the Ravens the game; it possibly cost them their playoff chances.

Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference