The great debate over going for two found fresh fodder on Sunday when the Baltimore Ravens gambled the outcome of their game against the Green Bay Packers on one final play.
Video released on Monday showed how the decision went down on the Baltimore sideline.
After scoring a late touchdown to cut their deficit to 31-30, head coach John Harbaugh rolled the dice on a two-point conversion with the game on the line. Convert, and they take the lead with :42 remaining. Fail, and they’re left to a desperation onside kick attempt to keep hope alive. Overtime with Aaron Rodgers on the opposing sideline was not an option.
Was 2-point attempt the right call?
Backup quarterback Tyler Huntley, who’d played well on a four-touchdown day in place of injured former MVP Lamar Jackson, failed to find tight end Mark Andrews in the end zone, and the Packers walked away with victory intact after nearly blowing a 14-point fourth quarter lead.
John Harbaugh appeared to have unanimous support from players he consulted for Sunday’s decisive call. (Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
It was an “I-told-you-so” moment for analytics skeptics who pointed to the loss as further evidence against taking calculated risks when football’s at stake. For the analytics community, of course, it was a juncture to further advocate for process over results. Just because it didn’t work out this time, doesn’t mean it was a bad decision. And if the Ravens made a strategic mistake, it was in not going for two earlier in the game.
Harbaugh involved Huntley, veterans in 2-point decision
For Harbaugh, it was a moment to to show trust in Huntley and his offense while involving them in the decision-making process. He said on Sunday his decision wasn’t strictly based on the numbers which he declared “are never gonna be perfect.”
“It’s mostly gut,” Harbaugh told reporters.
Video released Monday showed the process of Harbaugh’s decision. It involved asking Huntley what he wanted to do.
Harbaugh to Huntley on the sideline:…