Punter Sam Koch’s seven yard touchdown run on Sunday prompted plenty of questions: Should the Ravens have run up the score like that? Should they have saved that play for a bigger game and a bigger situation? Both valid questions and, given that there were still over twenty minutes left in the game, I have no problem with the Ravens running that play to ice the game for good. Besides, after the fake on the extra point a year ago, I somehow don’t see the Steelers falling for it next week. More importantly though, it was a brilliant play call and was executed even better by Koch.
Let’s set the scene. With the ball at the seven-yard line, Koch was positioned over the left hash mark fifteen yards from the goal line. The Raiders had given the Ravens the perfect look, with just three players on one side of the long snapper. As the ball was snapped, Koch sprang up, catching it perfectly, and here’s where it gets fun.
Like a veteran running back, he looked to run to the outside, setting up an easy block by Gino Gradkowski on Raiders safety Michael Mitchell to open up the hole. Cutting back inside, he was able to sprint past defensive lineman Matt Shaughnessy, who had been slowed initially by Michael Oher.
So much had to go right for the call to work; The Raiders setting up as they did, Gradkowski and Ed Dickson making the blocks on the outside and, of course, Koch going all Ray Rice on us with that nifty little cut back.
Perhaps it wasn’t needed, and maybe it would have worked down the line somewhere else. But sometimes it’s fun to just enjoy a play that goes perfectly to plan and celebrate fantastic play calling by head coach John Harbaugh. Besides, aren’t there more important questions to answer now, like how exactly Harbaugh plans to get kicker Justin Tucker into the end zone?