In the first half against the Miami Dolphins, the Baltimore Ravens took a gamble on 4th-and-1 from their own 35 yard line. If they failed, the Dolphins would take over in good field position but if they got it, it would spark some momentum in their offense. They got it and continued to march down the field for a touchdown in the closing seconds of the second half.
Following the game, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh explained the thought process behind taking the gamble.
“That decision right there depends on the guys. And, I tell you, the guys up front did a great job. I mean Gene Monroe came all the way down from his left tackle spot and knocked the guy four yards off the ball. I thought you start with Jeremy Zuttah, both guards. When you’ve got an offensive line that we’ve got, you got a chance to do something like that. And that was big. In your own territory it’s hard to make that call but not with our offensive line. I’m proud of those guys for that.”
Jelani Jenkins said the defense was thrown off by their formation because the Ravens disguised it so well but in the end, it all came down to execution.
“They did a decent job window-dressing it. They came in empty. They motioned the backend. We kind of were looking for the quarterback sneak. They just executed it better. We probably could have had better pad level. I don’t know. That’s one of their top plays in short yardage. They got us with that.”
Cameron Wake said it wasn’t just the 4th-and-1 play that did them in but instead, a culmination of bad plays from the defense that allowed the Ravens to continuously march down the field throughout the entire second half.
“They took a gamble and they won. Again, fourth-and-one is just one play. There were a lot of other plays that you have to have as a team. You can go offense, defense, special teams or whoever it may be. Shooting yourself in the foot doesn’t help in any form of the game. Whether it is fourth-and-one or third-and-10, you have to get off of the field. It doesn’t matter. You have to have it as a must-win situation. I’m not talking about the game [but] I’m talking about plays and those plays are scattered all over the game. We lost more of those plays than we should have.”
While Joe Philbin said he was confident that his defense could stop them, his way of thinking didn’t matter as the Ravens easily got the first down. It was a big moment in a big game and as it has been the case over the past several weeks, they were on the losing side of things.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs