Ravens Stand By 4th-Down Decision

With heavy winds swirling around M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens opted to go for it on fourth down.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Monday, December 6th, 2010 at 2:11 am | Categories: 2010 Season, Mike Duffy, Week 13 vs Steelers

The Ravens could have attempted a long field goal in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie a 13-10 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Head Coach John Harbaugh opted to go for it on fourth down instead.

Facing a 48-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff in the face of swirling winds that reached up to 31 mph, the Ravens put the balance in the hands of quarterback Joe Flacco.

Even though Flacco’s pass to tight end Ed Dickson fell incomplete, Harbaugh stood by his decision.

“It was a tough wind up there,” Harbaugh said.  “It was really outside of our range, as we designated going in.  We felt like we had a better chance to get the first down than we had to get the field goal.”

Had the Ravens attempted a field goal, it would have been a 48-yard try, but failure to convert gave the Steelers possession with only 37 seconds left on the clock.   Harbaugh added the Ravens wanted to get the ball to the 27-yard line, but the “drop-dead range” was from the 30 (or a 47-yard attempt).
All Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had to do was kneel for the victory.

“It was a tough kick,” said Harbaugh, a longtime special teams coach.  “I’m pretty good at that [with regards to his estimation of make-able field goals].  I’ve been doing that for a long time, and I understand what those guys can do and what they can’t do.

“It was a very low-percentage kick.”

Cundiff agreed.

The stalwart kicker had already made a 24-yarder earlier in the game, but he noted how fierce the winds were during warm-ups.

By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, Cundiff saw that the elements became even more of a factor.

“It felt like it picked up,” said Cundiff, whose longest field goal in 2010 is 49 yards.  “After I warmed up, I could see the trash flying around on the sideline. In pre-game, we backed up to 48 [yards], and I may have not hit any, maybe one. We established a 45-yard field goal was basically it. 

“Knowing that and watching the wind pick up, it wasn’t a tough decision.”

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