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John Harbaugh reveals wild options Ravens considered vs. Browns before Lamar Jackson saved the day

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The Baltimore Ravens‘ 47-42 win over the Cleveland Browns on “Monday Night Football” in Week 14 was one of the best games of the 2020 season. Two divisional rivals jockeying for playoff positioning on a national stage is always fun, and this was a high-scoring, back-and-forth affair that was ended by a Justin Tucker 55-yard field goal with just two seconds left to play. It was also the game where Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson missed most of the final quarter due to cramps, and head coach John Harbaugh had to start considering some drastic options.

With just over two minutes left in the ball game, the Ravens were facing a one-point deficit and looking at a pivotal third down with backup quarterback Trace McSorley. Things went from bad to worse when McSorley was sacked and suffered a season-ending knee injury. The Ravens then were faced with a fourth-and-5 from the Browns’ 44-yard line with two minutes left, down a point and without any quarterbacks. 

During a recent discussion with Charles Davis on Hudl, Harbaugh reflected on that stressful moment, and said that he was prepared to put wide receiver Willie Snead at quarterback. In fact, the wideout was practicing taking snaps under center on the sideline and telling Harbaugh that it was his time to shine! Then, Tucker ran by and offered Harbaugh a different option, volunteering his services for what would have been a very long field goal. Harbaugh thought the kick would be 68 yards, and asked Tucker about his chances of making it (though in reality, the kick would’ve been around 62 yards).

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“I go ‘Can you make it?’ And I think it might be a good idea,” Harbaugh recalled. “(Tucker) looks at me and he says, ‘I think I’ve got a better chance than Willie.’ And I’m like, ‘I think you might be right!'”


Then, in what was truly a Hollywood movie moment, Jackson returned to the field to save the day on fourth down. In his first play back, he rolled right and hit Marquise Brown for a 44-yard touchdown to take the lead.  

While Jackson’s touchdown pass on his first play back after dealing with cramps was one of the plays of the year, the fireworks weren’t over just yet. The Browns scored a touchdown to tie the game on their next possession, but the Ravens came right back with a Tucker game-winning field goal. The Browns had one last chance after the kick, but a series of laterals resulted in a safety for the Ravens’ five-point victory.

Harbaugh can look back on it now and laugh since the outcome was in his favor, but it sounds like he will never forget how low he was feeling watching his wide receiver take practice snaps under center with an important divisional game on the line. 

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