Chalk up another win up for John Harbaugh's situational football acumen.
With the Baltimore Ravens clinging to a seven-point lead with 11 seconds to play, the Ravens wound down the rest of the clock on a game-ending safety by punter Sam Koch to seal the 19-14 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. On the play, Harbaugh -- a former special teams coordinator -- had his players commit holding penalties, allowing Koch to run out the rest of the time.
It was not unlike the intentional safety Harbaugh's team employed in their Super Bowl XLVII win four years ago. The execution, however, was better this time around.
"I tried to mention that that was the best safety ever taken," Harbaugh said after the win, via the team's official website. "What I meant was that it was the best-executed safety ever taken because we kept him clean the whole time. But, [Terrell Suggs] says that nothing can top the Super Bowl safety."
Every team coaches their players to hold in that situation -- when taking a safety, the penalties become superfluous. So few execute with the perfection Baltimore did Sunday.
With the Bengals needing a touchdown to tie the smart play was to take a safety. Even if all the time hadn't run out, most would have drained on the ensuing free kick.
Harbaugh's team has shown a knack for understanding situational football.
The Ravens' smarts stand in contrast to the Denver Broncos later in the night. Broncos receiver Bennie Fowler could have slid down after a long reception with time dwindling, not scored, and allowed Denver to take time off the clock and likely win. Instead, he went in and Gary Kubiak eschewed a two-point try to go up nine points. Kansas City got the ball with plenty of time to drive for the game-tying score, added the two-point conversion and ultimately won in overtime.
Executing situational football: Underrated.