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Baltimore might regret their risky play in the 2nd quarter, but how costly was it, really?
Up 14-3 in the 2nd quarter, the Ravens were in easy field goal range at the 49ers 14-yard line. Kicking a field goal would have put Baltimore up 14 points, a comfortable two-touchdown lead in the Super Bowl. But John Harbaugh made the call instead to run a fake attempt with kicker Justin Tucker on 4th-and-9. Unfortunately for the Ravens, Tucker only gained eight yards and Baltimore found themselves shy of a score in the biggest football game of the year and gave the ball back to the 49ers. It certainly seemed like a bonehead move since it didn't work, but was it the wrong call?
According to AdvancedNFLStats.com, the Ravens best odds would have been going for the field goal, but not by much. The win probability on kicking a field goal was .89, and the win probability on going for it was .87. Not much of a difference. Of course, those odds don't count for a fake compared to running a set offensive play, but there's still a good argument for going for the touchdown deep in San Francisco territory. Even though the Ravens gave it back to San Francisco, they were able to stop them and score immediately on a deep touchdown to Jacoby Jones. Though the game is currently close late and the 49ers are threatening to complete the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, it's not necessarily because of that decision.
Either way, you could say that John Harbaugh made the right call. It just doesn't make that much of a difference.