John Harbaugh and the Ravens’ Controversial Decision May Upset the NFL’s Competition Committee But Cements Baltimore’s Place in the History Books

The Baltimore Ravens improved to 3-1 with a 23-7 victory over the undefeated Denver Broncos. Baltimore controlled the game throughout, and it was never in doubt. With just three seconds remaining on the clock, head coach John Harbaugh made a controversial decision that some people won’t like, including the NFL’s competition committee and the Broncos.

Harbaugh doesn’t seem to care. Regardless of how it happened, the Ravens made history.

The Ravens tied a 44-year-old record

The Baltimore Ravens have made plenty of history over the past few seasons with Lamar Jackson under center. They accomplished another feat in their Week 4 win over the Broncos.

Baltimore rushed for 102 yards in the win, tying the record for most consecutive games with more than 100 rushing yards in NFL history. The only other team with a 43-game streak was the 1974-77 Pittsburgh Steelers, led by legendary running back Franco Harris.

The Ravens are a run-first football team under offensive coordinator Greg Roman. While his play-calling has been under fire, the team has consistently run the ball efficiently and effectively.

Jackson’s dynamic ability as a dual-threat quarterback makes the offense tick. The former MVP has accounted for 3,185 rushing yards since 2018, and he only started seven games as a rookie.

The running game has proven to be potent, regardless of who’s getting the carries. Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and J.K. Dobbins all had success.

John Harbaugh made a controversial decision for his team

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh reacts during NFL game
Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh walks the sideline during game against the Denver Broncos | Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh came under fire for his decision that ultimately led to the team breaking the rushing record.

With three seconds left in regulation, the Ravens had 97 rushing yards for the game. The Ravens opted to run a play instead of taking a knee in victory formation.

Lamar Jackson took the direct snap on a designed quarterback run and picked up five yards. The play officially tied the record.

Harbaugh took responsibility for calling the play in the post-game press conference.

100 percent my call. That’s one of those things that’s meaningful. It’s one of those things that as a head coach, you’ve got to be mindful of your team and your players and your coaches and what it means to them. It’s a very, very tough record to accomplish and it’s a long-term record.

John Harbaugh

The Ravens’ head man is a players’ coach. He makes decisions that will benefit his players and build them up. He was unapologetic after the game, and that undoubtedly will ruffle more feathers.

Broncos’ defensive players were visibly upset after play, and some approached the Ravens sideline. Head coach Vic Fangio expressed his displeasure with a barrage of expletives from the Denver sideline, per 9News Sports Denver.

The NFL’s competition committee probably scoffed at the play, too. However, the Ravens had every right to run the play. It was Denver’s responsibility to stop them.

The Ravens’ passing game carried them to a win over the Broncos

It took the final play of the game for the Ravens to top the century mark on the ground against the Broncos. Vic Fangio is a defensive-minded coach, so it’s no surprise that Lamar Jackson and company could not run roughshod over Denver’s defense.

Latavius Murray led the team in rushing with 59 yards and a touchdown. Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman were ineffective. Jackson’s longest run of the day was seven yards.

Baltimore hardly established dominance with their rushing attack. Instead, the passing game led the way.

Jackson torched the Broncos’ secondary for 316 yards and an absolute dime touchdown pass to Marquise Brown. Mark Andrews made several big-time catches. Even James Proche got in on the action, recording a 32-yard reception late in the game.

The Ravens have a logjam at running back, with an unproven talent in Ty’Son Williams and three veterans well past their primes.

The passing game may need to play at a high level more consistently throughout the rest of the 2021 season for Baltimore to win tightly contested games.

The most noteworthy trait of this Ravens team is its guts. John Harbaugh makes unpopular decisions, but it’s because he believes in his guys.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.

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