A win felt well within reach for the Ravens as time expired against the Steelers Sunday evening.
But, when the final whistle blew, it was Pittsburgh who emerged with a 20-19 victory over its rival following a failed Baltimore two-point conversion.
Sensing that his wounded team might not last through overtime, Ravens coach John Harbaugh explained afterwards why he elected to go for it all rather than settling for a game-tying PAT attempt.
"Trying to win the game right there," Harbaugh said. "We were pretty much out of corners at that point in time. It was an opportunity to try to win the game right there."
A lengthy injury report preceded the club's Week 13 clash with its most heated foe. Of the 11 questionable designations, five belonged to corners, including All-Pro Marlon Humphrey (illness). Harbaugh revealed that Humphrey, who was one of five active CBs, suffered a significant injury that took him off the field late and further sunk the secondary.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport later reported Humphrey is suspected to have suffered a season-ending shoulder injury, news that adds more context to Harbaugh's choice to avoid extra time.
In a battle featuring two teams doing their best to not give the other any ground, the contest came down to some heroics from Lamar Jackson and the offense. A TD strike to Sammy Watkins at the end of a 65-yard march cut Baltimore's six-point deficit to one with 16 seconds remaining.
Rather than trust the leg of the great Justin Tucker, Harbaugh almost immediately signaled for two, placing the game's outcome in his QB1's hands. As Jackson looked to favorite target Mark Andrews on a play-action pass, his side-arm throw floated the ball just out of Andrews' reach with T.J. Watt closing in, carrying with it the last hopes of a shocking road win as it dropped to the turf.
While outsiders may debate the well-designed but ill-fated play call in the coming days, the Ravens likely don't feel too distraught over the outcome. Nose tackle Brandon Williams essentially confirmed that when he told reporters, per The Athletic, "We believe in 8. We'd do that play 1,000 more times."
Williams' remarks may not be enough to quell the sting of defeat for the fanbase but it will have to suffice until Week 14 when Baltimore hits the road again for a rematch with another big-time rival in the Cleveland Browns.
But until then, Sunday's bold decision, along with the loss of Humphrey, will loom large over a club that can ill-afford to lose any more ground in a tight AFC North race.