Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio was not happy with the Baltimore Ravens for running the ball on the final play of their game Sunday rather than taking a knee.
Fangio didn't mince words in a press conference Monday:
Andrew Mason @MaseDenver
Vic Fangio, on the Ravens not kneeling on the final play Sunday:<br><br>“Yeah, I thought it was kind of bullshit, but I expected it from them.”<br><br>Why did he expect it?<br><br>“Because I know how they operate. That’s their mode of operation there … player safety is secondary."
The Ravens were trying to tie the record for the most consecutive games with at least 100 rushing yards. When they intercepted Drew Lock in the fourth quarter and got the ball back with three seconds remaining and a 23-7 lead, they needed three yards to set the mark. They got five.
The <a href="https://twitter.com/Ravens?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Ravens</a> keep the streak of 100-yard rushing games alive, tying the NFL record of 43 games. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RavensFlock?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RavensFlock</a> <a href="https://t.co/aluv7h4y03">pic.twitter.com/aluv7h4y03</a>
Mike Klis @mikeklis
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it was call not to take knee with 3 seconds left, instead ran play to get record for most consecutive 100+yard rushing games. Overheard Broncos players who were livid as they walked into locker room. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/9sports?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#9sports</a>
With the outcome decided, football etiquette suggests taking a knee to run out the clock—hence the angry reaction from Fangio and the Broncos sideline:
9NEWS Sports Denver @9NEWSSports
WATCH: The Broncos sideline was enraged as the Ravens decided to run the ball on the final play of the game rather than take a knee. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/9sports?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#9sports</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BroncosCountry?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BroncosCountry</a> <a href="https://t.co/QshWgAbkpX">pic.twitter.com/QshWgAbkpX</a>
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh told reporters after the game:
"It's one of those things that's meaningful. It's a very, very tough record to accomplish. It's a long-term record. So, I'm not going to say it's more important than winning the game, for sure. It's certainly not. But, as a head coach, I think you do that for your players and you do that for your coaches, and that's something they'll have for the rest of their lives."
Harbaugh also responded Monday to Fangio's comments, referencing the Broncos' efforts to score a late touchdown with 10 seconds left despite a 16-point deficit:
Jamison Hensley @jamisonhensley
John Harbaugh made the point that Ravens got the ball back because Broncos were throwing to the end zone in a 23-7 game.<br><br>"Throwing the ball in the end zone with 10 seconds left, I don’t know if that’s there’s a 16-point touchdown that’s going to be possible right there," he said
That's one perspective. The Broncos saw it a different way.
As Mike Klis of 9News relayed: "Broncos defensive line coach Bill Kollar recognized what the Ravens were doing pre-snap and started screaming obscenities. Defensive lineman Shelby Harris also saw what was up and he started uttering his displeasure at the perceived lack of sportsmanship."
Klis added that Broncos players "were livid about the perceived 'rub it in'-type maneuver" as they went to the locker room after the loss.
Jeff Legwold @Jeff_Legwold
I've known a lot of folks in the NFL who have always said "winning makes you right,'' but have had a couple coaches from other places reach out today to ask if Ravens really ran a play at end of Sunday's game instead of taking a knee just to keep 100-yard rushing streak going...
Even Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was surprised by the decision, telling reporters he didn't care about the record and hadn't been focused on it:
"I don't know what [Harbaugh] was thinking. I thought we would take a knee and he said, 'no, we're going for it.' The game was put away. 'Double-A' (cornerback Anthony Averett) caught that pick in the back of the endzone, congratulations to him, but I don't know what coach was thinking."
Jackson ran the ball on the play, adding another wrinkle to the story. Having your franchise quarterback run the ball with the game decided is an injury risk that could have backfired. The Ravens know this well—running backs J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill have all been lost to season-ending injuries since August.
But Harbaugh wanted to keep that streak alive.