“I hope he still loves me”

Things heated up on the Ravens sideline after collapsing with a 17-point lead in Sunday’s 23-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and cornerback Marcus Peters joined the game on the sidelines as time advanced on Tyler Bass’ game-winning field goal for the Bills. CBS cameras caught Harbaugh saying something Peters clearly didn’t like. Peters then slammed his helmet into the turf and had to be stopped as he tried to approach the Ravens head coach.

After the game, Harbaugh spoke about the incident, while telling reporters that he and his full-professional cornerback were “on the same page.”

“Emotions are running high,” Harbaugh said. “We’re on the same page. We have a great relationship. We have an honest relationship. I love him. I hope he still loves me. We’ll see.”

Harbaugh did not say what prompted the exchange or what was said specifically. Peters did not speak to reporters after the game.

What Triggered Peters Outbreak?

The loss included some strategic decisions by the Ravens that didn’t work, most notably a late gamble on a touchdown when a field goal would have put Baltimore ahead.

The game was tied 20-20 and Baltimore faced Buffalo’s fourth goal from the 2-yard line with 4:16 left. Game top scorer Justin Tucker’s field goal will give the Ravens a 23-20 lead. Harbaugh instead opted for a touchdown. Lamar Jackson then made an interception on Bill safety Jordan Boyer in the end zone.

Without a long return or a six, this game turned out to be a worst-case scenario for Baltimore. A vacancy without a turnover would put the Bills within their own 2-yard line, and Harbaugh must have factored that outcome into his decision to roll the dice. Instead, Buffalo started the subsequent offense from the 20-yard line when the turnover led to a touchdown. Beal then went for 77 yards and the clock expired before Buss converted a 21-yard field goal.

Why does Harbaugh pass the ball?

Harbaugh explained the decision to reporters.

“I think it gives us the best chance of winning the game because seven [points]the worst case is if they come down and score — I think we’ll stop them — but if they come down and score a touchdown, the worst might be you go into overtime.

“You’re there to score and it’s no longer a three-down game, it’s a four-down game. You put them there and you put your defense at a disadvantage because they have four knockouts on the field. Convert all the way and have a chance to score seven again and then you lose the game for a touchdown.”

It was an analysis-based decision that didn’t work out for the Ravens on Sunday. Is this why Peters is unhappy? A later decision by the Ravens defense may also have played a role.

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh watches the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Oct.  February 2, 2022, in Baltimore.  (AP Photo/Nick Vas)

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh watches the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Oct. February 2, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Vas)

Ravens tackle Singletary instead of letting him score

Had the Bills aggressively sought a touchdown after the final blow reached the red zone, the Ravens could have allowed them to score in time to respond. Devin Singletary’s 8-yard run to the 3-yard line was Buffalo’s best chance, and Baltimore had about 1:50 left. But Bill’s defenders dealt with him.

It was unclear if Singletary would go into the scoring or be instructed to give himself up outside the goal line for a bell-burning strategy. But that’s the strategy Bill uses after his run. After Baltimore used its final timeout, they had multiple plays inside the 3-yard line to burn the clock.

It’s also unclear whether one or both of those decisions sparked Peters — or whether his anger was entirely unrelated. But the Ravens, who lost two games in three weeks, led the game by double digits. They lost to the Miami Dolphins in Week 2 after going 28-7 at halftime.

It’s easy to see why tensions are running high.

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