One of the few hiccups the Ravens endured in Sunday's 35-7 rout of the Pittsburgh Steelers was a failed attempt for a first down on fourth-and-1 from Pittsburgh's 8-yard line in the third quarter. Running back Ray Rice ran off left tackle, but he was stuffed by outside linebacker James Harrison.
Coach John Harbaugh acknowledged on Monday that the decision to go for it was rooted in emotion rather than reasoning.
"Sometimes you go with your head and sometimes you go with your heart, and the second decision [to go for it] was probably going with my heart," he said. "I felt like we were going to get it. I felt like we could get it and I felt like we could really put the nail in the coffin. Twenty-five [points] is better than 22, but 29 is better than 25. How much is enough? It was just a little bit more."
As a follow-up, Harbaugh was asked if he doubted that decision as he watched the Steelers march 73 yards to the Ravens' 18 before free safety Ed Reed intercepted quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at the 1.
"I doubted myself as soon as we didn't get it," Harbaugh said. "As soon as we didn't get it, I felt like that was the wrong decision. But I also think there's been a lot of studies in this league when you look at it in terms of going for it on fourth down, and they basically say that most coaches don't go for it enough. We do want to be aggressive, and I do have a lot of confidence in our guys, and probably when in doubt, we're going to go for it more often than not. But the math, what you're talking about, was right. You could definitely make a case for the math, and it would be a good case."