All according to plan, Koch runs out the clock
Game-ending safety recalls play in Super Bowl XLVII
As startling as it might have been to watch Ravens punter Sam Koch run around in the end zone for the final 11 seconds of their 19-14 win Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, it all went according to plan.
Facing fourth-and-8 from their 23-yard line, the Ravens did not want to give Cincinnati a chance to turn a 19-12 deficit into a tie. So special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg, coach John Harbaugh and kicking consultant Randy Brown devised a plan to concede a safety but also run out the clock.
“It was early in the series” when the coaches began formulating the play, Koch said. “Just kind of going over some possible situations that could arise in that situation. When you have someone like Jerry and John and Randy all there, with the minds that they have, it’s one of those situations they brought up. So it played out in the end, and we’ve got to thank Jerry Rosburg for that.”
The play was similar to the one the Ravens used to defeat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. On fourth-and-7 from the Ravens 8 with 12 seconds left, Koch scampered around the end zone until he was forced out of bounds.
After that safety, San Francisco still had four seconds left to potentially return the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. On Sunday, Koch made sure he ran out all 11 seconds before stepping out of the back of the end zone.
“We know what we did wrong in the Super Bowl, and we kind of learned from it and just made sure that everybody did what they needed to and held on as long as they could and ended up winning the game,” he said.
Although several Ravens were flagged for holding Sunday, the Bengals were not awarded an untimed down because they were not defensive penalties.
Harbaugh said Koch would have had options had the Bengals penetrated the protection and pressured him, but the play worked as well as the Ravens could have hoped for.
“I thought our guys did a great job,” Harbaugh said. “Part of the deal was just identifying all of their men, because if we misidentify on the count and leave one guy running through there, he’s going to get to Sam, and there’s going to be very little time off the clock. Everybody did a great job of communicating.” Smith angers another cornerback: A week after Dallas Cowboys rookie Anthony Brown said he no longer had respect for Steve Smith Sr., the Cincinnati Bengals’ Dre Kirkpatrick took Smith to task after he recorded four receptions for 20 yards Sunday.
“Eighty-nine said I was trash,” Kirkpatrick said of Smith, according to comments distributed to reporters. “If I’m trash, what did he do today? [Expletive], clean that up. Who was trash today? He said what he had to say last year. I just wanted to let him know, am I trash now? Eighty-nine looked to trash me, but he didn’t do anything.”
Kirkpatrick was referring to last year’s meeting in Baltimore, which Cincinnati won, 28-24. After catching his second touchdown in that game, Smith, who finished with 13 receptions for 186 yards, was caught on camera calling Kirkpatrick and cornerback AdamJones “trash” before using an expletive to describe free safety George Iloka.
Kirkpatrick joins a growing list of cornerbacks who have taken issue with Smith. Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Jalen Ramsey was the first, and Brown made his feelings known after Dallas’ 27-17 victory Nov. 20. When asked Wednesday about the criticism, Smith, 37, told Cincinnati reporters: “I can really give a flying [expletive].”
Smith declined to talk after Sunday’s win. Put your hands up: The Ravens defense’s final stand in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter was aided by batted passes .
Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs knocked down a throw by Andy Dalton on second-and-2 at the Ravens 45, rookie outside linebacker Matthew Judon got his left arm on another pass on third-and-3 at the 29, and defensive end Brent Urban used his right hand to tip an attempt on second-and-10 at the 16. Judon said the defense’s scouting report included a note on the 6-foot-2 Dalton.
“His release point is kind of low,” said Judon, who finished with two batted passes. “He’s not a taller quarterback. We were just trying to get our hands up and get some of those balls if we couldn’t get to him.” The Ravens’ Sam Koch takes the ball to the back of the end zone to allow a safety while Bengals linebacker Nick Vigil pursues him as the clock runs out in the fourth quarter. Perriman’s first catch of day is touchdown: A week after not being targeted in the loss to the Cowboys, Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman caught the first pass thrown in his direction for a 14-yard touchdown.
The opening-drive reception was Perriman’s only one of the day, though he was targeted two more times, but it marked his second score in his past three games.
“It really got me going, and it gave me a confidence boost,” Perriman said. “That was a good start.” End zone: After Justin Tucker’s fourth field goal of the game with 12:16 left in the game, the Ravens kicker booted the ensuing kickoff through the uprights 75 yards away. Harbaugh joked that kickoffs that split the goal posts should count for one point for the kicking team. “How exciting would that make it?” he asked. “If we’re going to make these touchbacks so valuable, let’s do it.” … Three players who entered the game designated as questionable — left guard Marshal Yanda (left shoulder), nose tackle Brandon Williams (back/ hand) and de- fensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (right shoulder) — started as usual. … The Ravens deactivated a pair of starters in cornerback Jimmy Smith and rookie guard Alex Lewis. Smith, who also missed the loss to the Cowboys, did not practice last week because of a back injury and had been doubtful. Lewis (high-right-ankle sprain) had been ruled out Friday. Rookie outside linebacker Kamalei Correa, tight end Crockett Gillmore (pulled hamstring), guard Ryan Jensen and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (thigh) also were inactive. … Cincinnati deactivated a pair of starters in wide receiver A.J. Green (strained right hamstring) and strong safety Shawn Williams (hamstring). The team also scratched rookie quarterback Jeff Driskel, long snapper Clark Harris (groin), free safety Derron Smith (thigh), rookie guard Christian Westerman and tight end C.J. Uzomah (calf ). … Outside linebackers Albert McClellan and Suggs, defensive end Lawrence Guy and right tackle Rick Wagner represented the Ravens for the coin toss.