Harbaugh Reflects on Playoff Loss, Grounded Running Game
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens picked the worst time to play their worst football.
That was the message from coach John Harbaugh when he met with the media nearly one week after his team lost to the Tennessee Titans 28-12 in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs.
The Ravens were the best running team in the history of the NFL during the regular season, but they steered away from their strengths.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson completed 31 of 59 pass attempts for 365 yards with two interceptions. He also had 20 of Baltimore's 29 carries for 143 yards.
It was a ratio that spelled doom for the Ravens.
"We were a running team this year. We set records running," Harbaugh said.. And that was what we stood on, there’s no doubt. But, there were five games that we threw the ball more than we ran, and we won four of them. So, there are times that you do what you’ve got to do to win the game, and throwing the ball is part of that.”
Baltimore offense led the league in points per game (33.2), rushing yards per game (206.0), was second in total offense yards per game (407.6), and the Ravens became the first NFL team to average over 200 rushing yards and 200 passing yards in a season.
Baltimore shattered several single-season franchise records for total touchdowns (64), points (531), total net yards (6,521) and first downs (386). The Ravens’ run game set an NFL season record for most rushing yards with 3,296, and the offense led the NFL in big plays with 142 (98 rush, 44 pass). Baltimore also led the NFL with an average 34:37 time of possession.
However, Harbaugh said the Titans simply were able to execute their game-plan better. Ultimately, that was the difference in the game. When the Ravens fell behind by 15 points, late in the third quarter, they had no choice but to try and quickly put points on the board.
Mark Ingram carried the ball six times for 22 yards, while Gus Edwards had just three carries for 20 yards.
"We didn't play well. That's the biggest thing," Harbaugh said. "If we would have gotten in these games and played really well, played our kind of football, not turned the ball over and played winning football, then you could kind of say, 'OK, well that's just football.' When you don't play the way we played leading into those games, that's one that I think you have to look at and try to figure that out."