Should Harbaugh Have Run the 2 Minute Offense in the 4th Quarter?

October 01, 2008 |

I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the conservative nature of the Ravens game plan in the waning minutes of regular time vs. the Steelers.

I may be in the minority here, but I do not think the Ravens should have run their 2-minute offense at the end of regulation.

I think Coach Harbaugh and Cam Cameron made the right decision by sitting on the ball and forcing overtime.

And it’s not because they didn’t trust Joe Flacco. It couldn’t be.

After all, he marched the offense down the field just one possesion earlier to tie the game.

He out-performed a Super Bowl winning QB for 55 minutes of the game. It couldn’t have been for a lack of confidence.

It was because the circumstances prevented the Ravens from executing their two minute offense. Let me explain:

After the Ravens return team laid another steamer, the Ravens got the ball at their own 13 yard line with 1:40 left. Plenty of time, right?


A run up the gut gave the Ravens 8 yards and set a physical tone for the final drive. Even though the clock was still running, things were looking good.

Then the one and only bad thing that could have happened…happened (besides a turnover, of course).

And it put the brakes on any chance of running the 2-minute drill they practice every Friday. It was the injury to Le’Ron McClain.

Being the warrior he is, he decided to try to walk off under his own power to preserve the Ravens final timeout.

After about 20 seconds of floundering around on the field, the Ravens were forced to take their final timeout with :46 left on the clock (by rule) because of the injury. McClain was unable to come off the field under his own power. (Side note: thankfully his injury was not serious.)

With :46 seconds remaining, no timeouts, and the ball on the Ravens 25, I think it was a very smart decision by Harbaugh to not force the issue and sit on the ball.

After all, we were on the road, deep in our own territory, and had a rookie running back as the last line of defense against a complex Dick LeBeau blitz scheme.

If we decided to come out passing, the Steelers would know that we would need to use the sidelines because we had no timeouts remaining. That made the Ravens offense more than one-dimensional. All they had to do was guard the sidelines.

Plus, despite great play in the interior o-line throughout the contest, the tackles were getting beat pretty bad all game. It could have been open season on our franchise quarterback.

Do you guys think it was the right move? Why or why not?