Harbaugh Explains FG Decision On 4th Down

John Harbaugh said going for a touchdown on 4th-and-11 was ‘a little too desperate.’

Posted by Mike Duffy on Monday, September 19th, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Categories: Mike Duffy, Week 2 at Titans

After Baltimore’s 26-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans, fans and pundits alike wondered why the Ravens opted against going for a touchdown on fourth-and-11 midway through the fourth quarter.


At the time, the Ravens were down by a margin of 13 points and situated on Tennessee’s 11-yard line.

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But instead of taking another shot at the end zone, the Ravens opted for a 29-yard field goal by Billy Cundiff, pulling within 10 points with six minutes, fifty-eight seconds remaining.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said he made his choice in favor of the odds.

“It was fourth and [11]? The percentages aren’t really good,” Harbaugh said in his Monday press conference. “So, I figured, let’s get the three right here. We’ve got about seven minutes left; we have all our time outs. [We can] kick it down there, try to get a stop and we’ve got enough time.”

The decision might have been different had the Ravens not been docked five yards for a delay of game penalty on third down.

Facing first down from the Titans’ 9, running back Ray Rice gained 3 yards on a run off left tackle Bryant McKinnie. A pass to Anquan Boldin fell short on second down, and then the Ravens’ allowed the play clock to expire before getting off a third-down snap.

When another pass to Boldin was incomplete, it was time for Cundiff’s crew to split the uprights.

“If it had been fourth and six at the goal, then you’re going for it,” Harbaugh said. “My thought was to go for it, but it got to be fourth and 11; that was a little too desperate. You can probably make a case the other way, but I don’t know how better a case it would be.”

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