ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio offered a stinging rebuke, Monday, for the Baltimore Ravens’ pursuit of a rushing record on the last play of Sunday’s 23-7 Baltimore win at Empower Field at Mile High.
The Ravens, in an attempt to tie a decades-old record for consecutive 100-yard rushing games, had Lamar Jackson carry the ball on the last play of the day rather than take a knee with three seconds remaining.
Jackson gained five yards and the Ravens tied the Pittsburgh Steelers for the NFL record 43 consecutive 100-yard rushing games. The Steelers set the record in the 1974-77 seasons.
“I thought it was kind of bulls—. I expected it from them,” Fangio said Monday. “Thirty-seven years of pro ball I’ve never seen anything like that … but it was to be expected, and we expected it.”
Asked why the Broncos “expected it.” Fangio added:
“Because I just know how they operate, that’s just their mode of operations there; player safety is secondary,” Fangio said.
Fangio is a former Ravens assistant coach — from 2006=2009 – including during John Harbaugh’s first two seasons as head coach in 2008 and 2009.
After Sunday’s game, Harbaugh was asked about running Jackson on the last play.
“It’s one of those things that’s meaningful,” Harbaugh said. “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.”
The Elias Sports Bureau could not confirm the last time in the past 25 years that a team gained yards on a play that began in the final five seconds while leading by at least 10 points. Elias did find a play in 1992, when Spencer Tillman ran for 1 yard with two seconds left when his Houston Oilers led the San Diego Chargers 27-0.
Asked whether it was a sportsmanship issue or a player safety issue, Fangio said: “All of the above.” Fangio added he believed that hits on wide receiver Diontae Spencer (chest) and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (concussion) – in back-to-back plays in the second quarter – should have been penalties, but were not flagged. Neither player returned to the game.
“Honestly, I don’t give a sh-t about that last play, more so care about the plays through the game,” Broncos safety Kareem Jackson said. “Being it’s our job to stop them, they ran it to get their 100 yards or whatever they were trying to do. I mean as a whole defense we didn’t play up to the standard we set for ourself.”
“I wasn’t really offended by it; it just kind of seemed like, obviously, the statistical things are important to them,” said tight end Noah Fant. “If it was me, I’m getting a win and getting out of there. To each his own … we still lost that’s all that matters to me; that’s all that matters to us.”
ESPN’s Jamison Hensley contributed to this report.