John Harbaugh did not want the Ravens to go to overtime Sunday in Pittsburgh.
After Lamar Jackson hit Sammy Watkins on a 6-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds remaining, the Ravens had the option of kicking a game-tying PAT. Instead, Harbaugh opted to go for two and the win.
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Jackson had tight end Mark Andrews open in the right flat, but his pass was a bit wide and Andrews couldn’t make a one-handed grab. The Steelers recovered the subsequent onside kick and won the game 20-19.
Harbaugh said after the game that, because of injuries to the Ravens’ cornerbacks, he didn’t want to give Pittsburgh a chance at a drive in overtime.
“Tried to win the game right there. We were pretty much out of corners at that point in time, so it was an opportunity to try to win the game right there,” he said.
The Ravens came into the game with depleted cornerback depth because of injuries. All five corners were listed as questionable, though four of them — Anthony Averett, Jimmy Smith, Marlon Humphrey and Tavon Young — played. Marcus Peters is out for the season with a torn ACL.
Humphrey was injured during the game. Harbaugh said he will require an MRI and alluded to a possible extended absence. It was later reported after the game that Humphry would be out for the season.
The injury contributed to the Ravens’ struggles on defense in the second half. Baltimore held the Steelers to three first-half points, but Pittsburgh scored 17 points on its final three drives of the game as the defense began to wear out.
The final points came on a touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Diontae Johnson and a 2-point conversion to tight end Pat Freiermuth, which put Pittsburgh up 20-13 with 1:48 remaining.
Baltimore did what it had to do in response, driving 60 yards on eight plays for the touchdown, before coming up inches short of taking the lead. Harbaugh said everything unfolded the way he had hoped, outside of the result.
“You saw the play. I mean, it’s that close. Game of inches. Saw the Al Pacino speech in ‘Any Given Sunday,’ right? There you go. That’s football. Just that close,” Harbaugh said.
The win was a pivotal one for the Steelers, who move to 6-5-1 on the season and remain in the hunt for the playoffs. The Ravens (8-4) are still first in the AFC North ahead of the second-place Bengals, who lost to the Chargers on Sunday, but they dropped to the third seed in the AFC.
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