Tyler Huntley and the Baltimore Ravens had all the momentum and looked as if they might upset the Cincinnati Bengals, even without quarterback Lamar Jackson. But Huntley fumbled away the deciding score in the red zone and watched a Cincinnati Bengals defender take it back a playoff-record 98 yards for a 24-17 win.
Why Did Tyler Huntley Fumble?
Huntley’s leap from the 1-yard line was punched out prior to him reaching the goal line, and returned by Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard, who showed some elite athleticism on the touchdown return.
John Harbaugh Blames Tyler Huntley
The play saved the Bengals from what would’ve been an embarrassing home playoff loss to the undermanned Ravens. Following the game, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh seemed to throw his quarterback under the bus in his postgame presser.
“You decide whether you’re going to hand it off in the backfield or whether you want to quarterback sneak it,” Harbaugh said of the play call. “We felt we had a good call; it’s a push-sneak play. It wasn’t executed quite the right way. Tyler went over the top; that’s a Burrow play, he’s got to go low on that. That’s the way the play is designed.
“We felt like it was the best play call, we just didn’t execute it right.”
Sam Hubbard takes the fumble 98 yards for the TD ‼️
— NFL (@NFL) January 16, 2023
Harbaugh’s strategy behind the play was that with it being third-down they would have two chances to punch it in.
Huntley Tried To Make A Play
Following his coach basically saying he made the wrong decision; Huntley explained his reasoning for trying to leap over the pile for the would-be go-ahead touchdown.
“I saw everybody packed in, just tried to go over the top. I thought I cleared the line,” Huntley said. They just made a play and just happened to take it all the way back.”
Huntley continued ….
“At the time, I just felt like everybody was packed in, they shot for our lineman’s legs, the backers felt pretty good up at the line. I just tried to make a play,” Huntley said.
“I’m going to think about that the whole offseason, how just one play, they won the game. It’s going to be hard, but it’s going to motivate me to grind hard, work hard, and be ready for next year.”
Huntley was good in Sunday’s heartbreaking, season-ending loss, going 17-for-29 for 226 yards and two passing touchdowns. He also toted the mail for another 54 yards on nine carries.
"It's going to be hard thinking about that all off-season… It's going to motivate me to grind." pic.twitter.com/TqG1mPWHFJ
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 16, 2023
Was he Lamar good? No, but he was good enough for the Ravens to pull the upset, and it just didn’t happen.
Ravens All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews told reporters that Huntley “played his heart out.”
JK Dobbins Wasn’t A Fan Of The Game Plan
Speaking to reporters, a visibly upset JK Dobbins believes he should’ve gotten the football more after rushing for 62 yards on just 13 carries.
“He should have never been in that situation,” Dobbins said of Huntley. “I don’t get a single carry. I didn’t get a single carry. He should have never been in that situation. I believe I would have put it in the end zone, again.”
“I’m a guy who feels like I should be on the field all the time,” Dobbins said. “It’s the playoffs. Why am I not out there?”
JK Dobbins was furious about Greg Roman’s Play Calling and his usage in a playoff game, only getting 12 Carries… and rightfully so.
— Flockville (@Flockville) January 16, 2023
Dobbins does have a gripe, with Jackson being out, the former Ohio State running back is easily the Ravens’ most dynamic offensive weapon. And, to his point, he should’ve gotten a chance to punch it in after scoring the team’s first touchdown on a catch and lunge early in the second quarter.
Dobbins also mentioned that with a healthy Lamar Jackson they would’ve won. So in essence he’s taking up for Huntley but also saying they needed LJ to get the win.
It’s going to be an interesting offseason in “Charm City.”