Ravens' Lamar Jackson made call to go for it on game-winning fourth-down run: 'We had to get it'

Written By Edward Sutelan
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(Getty Images)

Lamar Jackson had moved the Ravens a yard away from sealing a win Sunday night against the Chiefs. Coach John Harbaugh was going to let him get the rest of the way there.

Baltimore needed a first down to finish off the victory. As Jackson was running over to the sideline with the team facing a fourth-and-1 from its 43, Harbaugh asked his star quarterback if he wanted to go for it. Jackson replied, "Hell, yeah," then went back out on the field and powered straight ahead for a 2-yard rush to secure the Ravens' 36-35 triumph.

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According to NFL Next Gen Stats, going for it was the right call. It said the Ravens had an 82 percent chance of winning the game by going for it on fourth down, while they had just a 58 percent chance of winning by punting.

And why not trust Jackson? The Ravens had scored touchdowns on all but one drive in the second half, including Jackson's rushing TD from a yard out with 3:14 left that gave them a 36-35 lead.

He finished the game with a team-high 107 rushing yards on 16 carries and two rushing touchdowns. He also completed 18 of 26 passes for 239 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions. 

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The "Sunday Night Football" matchup did not start off in an ideal manner for the Ravens. On his second pass of the game, Jackson threw a pick-six to Tyrann Mathieu to give the Chiefs the early 7-0 lead. The Ravens trailed 21-17 at halftime before the teams traded touchdowns early in the second half. 

After Jackson flipped into the end zone to put the Ravens up 36-35, the Chiefs took possession and were marching downfield before running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumbled on the Ravens' 34 to give Baltimore the ball back with 1:20 to go. The Chiefs spent their final three timeouts before Jackson's rush for the game-clinching first down.

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Harbaugh has shown faith in his quarterback before to convert on fourth down late in games. He asked Jackson the same question in 2019 against the Seahawks, and Jackson scored a go-ahead touchdown in an eventual win. Harbaugh's trust was rewarded again Sunday.

"Just like Seattle two years ago," Jackson told NBC's Michele Tafoya. "We had to get it."

The win was the first for Jackson over the Chiefs after going 0-3 against them to begin his career. Baltimore produced a second consecutive thrilling finish after losing to the Raiders in a wild overtime game in Week 1.

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