It seemed like a perfect time to run the ball.
The Ravens had a 23-16 lead with a little over eight minutes to play. They were backed up on their own 9-yard line, thanks to a penalty, a near interception and a completion for minus-2 yards.
Quarterback Joe Flacco had been hit and hurried throughout the day, and with the Ravens facing a third-and-22, he seemed particularly vulnerable. The safe play would have been to hand the ball to Ray Rice or Bernard Pierce, improve the team's field position by a little bit and then send punter Sam Koch back on the field.
Instead, Flacco took the snap out of the shotgun and thought he had wide receiver Deonte Thompson open. However, Dolphins rookie Dion Jordan beat Ravens left tackle Bryant McKinnie cleanly and slammed into Flacco just as the quarterback started to throw.
The ball fluttered in the air and Dolphins safety Reshad Jones caught it and then sprinted 25 yards into the end zone for the game-tying score.
"We want that one back," said Ravens coach John Harbaugh. "That was a mistake. We should have run the ball there. I think we'll all agree there. We should have punted it out of there the way our defense was playing. We put Joe in a tough spot. That was a mistake."
Fortunately for the Ravens, the mistake didn't cost them the game. Justin Tucker's 44-yard field goal with 1:42 remaining broke the deadlock, and the Ravens improved to 3-2 on the season with a 26-23 victory.
But, the interception return certainly provided for some anxious moments.
"Stuff happens, man," Flacco said. "I thought I had Deonte up the sideline, so I took my three steps, moved a little bit to the right and got ready to let one go to him. The next thing you know, the ball's going straight up in the air and being returned for a touchdown. Stuff like that happens. It was still a tie game with a lot of game left, and we knew we had to go win it. ... It was frustrating, but yes, you come off the sideline, you get [ticked] for a couple of seconds and then you regroup because you're getting the ball right back."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun