John Harbaugh almost let Justin Tucker kick a 68-yard FG in Cleveland originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
After Justin Tucker nailed a 55-yard field goal to win a game that was immediately hailed as the best of the season, Ravens players and coaches called it a storybook finish, the type of ending that even Hollywood couldn't have written.
But according to head coach John Harbaugh, the script almost went in a different direction.
“Tucker, who always runs right by me when he wants to kick a field goal, comes clicking by me, spins around and looks at me like, ‘Am I kicking the field goal?’ And I look at him and I go, ‘It’s 68 yards.’ He goes, ‘Yeah.’ I go, ‘Can you make it?’" Harbaugh said in an interview with Hudl this week. "And I think it might be a good idea. He looks at me and he says, ‘I think I’ve got a better chance than Willie.’ And I’m like, ‘I think you might be right.'"
With MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson still in the locker room getting treatment and lone backup QB Trace McSorley going down with an injury, the Ravens were out of options in their comeback effort.
Tucker has never kicked a field goal as far as 68 yards in a game, though he has posted numerous videos over the years of his long-distance exploits in practice. He has a history of lobbying the coaching staff for chances to break the all-time field goal record when the Ravens are out of his usual range at the ends of halves.
In a game that ended up being crucial for the Ravens' playoff chances, Harbaugh was put in an impossible situation. And rather than turn to emergency quarterback Willie Snead, he considered letting Tucker go for it all.
Thankfully for everyone involved - except the Browns, obviously - Jackson came back out onto the field just in the nick of time, and Tucker was still able to be play hero at the end of the game. But it's still fun to imagine an all-time classic like that December game coming down to a record-breaking attempt from the most accurate kicker in NFL history.