May 27, 2024

John Harbaugh provided a detailed explanation for the unusually low number of rushing attempts by the Baltimore Ravens in their heartbreaking 17-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs during the AFC Championship game, a result that denied them a chance to reach the Super Bowl after 11 years. In the postgame press conference, Harbaugh acknowledged the suboptimal rushing performance and emphasized that the game’s outcome was influenced by various factors beyond play calling.

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Harbaugh revealed that the game plan, orchestrated by Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken, heavily relied on run-pass options, giving quarterback Lamar Jackson the authority to make pre- and post-snap decisions based on the defense’s alignment. However, the Chiefs’ defensive strategy effectively thwarted the Ravens’ attempts to establish a running game. Harbaugh explained that while they could have shifted to running plays from heavy formations, they chose to keep formations open due to being behind on the scoreboard.

Despite the desire to run the ball against the Chiefs, the circumstances, including the two long touchdown drives by the Chiefs and subsequent mistakes by the Ravens, disrupted their ability to execute their game plan. Harbaugh admitted that the team wanted to stay true to their plan but faced challenges in doing so.

Regarding Jackson’s decision-making, particularly his hesitancy to utilize his running ability, Harbaugh acknowledged the criticism. He mentioned that he and Jackson discussed the game, and they were in agreement about areas for improvement. Harbaugh expressed confidence in Jackson’s football acumen and emphasized their collaborative effort in refining offensive strategies for future games.

Looking ahead, Harbaugh outlined plans to involve Jackson more in the overall setup of the offense. He likened the quarterback to a driver of a car and emphasized the need for Jackson to contribute to the design and preparation of the offensive scheme. Despite the disappointment of the AFC Championship loss, Harbaugh expressed optimism about the team’s future and the progress made in the first year of their new offensive system under Monken. He acknowledged the fans’ frustration but urged excitement for the team’s continued development and the challenges they aim to overcome in the upcoming seasons.

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