It’s generally a lot more fun to humiliate coaches for clock mistakes than praise them for managing it well, but Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh went deep into his bag of tricks on a kickoff late in the game against the Chiefs so he could save a timeout, and it was pretty dang nifty!
This was the situation: The Ravens were kicking off down five with 2:01 to play in the fourth, with only one timeout. If the Chiefs got the chance to return the ball, they’d burn the two-minute warning. But what Justin Tucker did was a really fancy drop kick, sending the ball soaring high into the air and not especially far. Kansas City’s Mecole Hardman wasn’t caught off guard, and got under the ball and signaled for a fair catch. But in forcing the play to be blown dead immediately, the Ravens froze the clock at 2:01 and preserved the two-minute warning for the Chiefs’ first play from scrimmage. On top of that, Tucker setting up the kick just looked frickin’ sweet.
It didn’t matter in the end. The Chiefs held on to the ball for the rest of the game. But at least the Ravens can go home safe in the knowledge that they can properly exploit kickoffs to their advantage whenever they need to.