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Harbaugh regrets not going for it on fourth down, explains decision to try field goal

Given a day to reflect on having kicker Justin Tucker attempt a field goal during the fourth quarter Sunday rather than going for it on fourth down, Ravens coach John Harbaugh expressed regret about his decision.Tucker wound up missing the 37-yard try wide left with the Ravens trailing 20-0 in the fourth quarter of the New England Patriots' 41-7 blowout win at M&T Bank Stadium. Instead of attempting another fourth-down attempt after Ray Rice was stuffed for no gain on 4th-and-1 in the third quarter, the Ravens tried to get on the scoreboard.

"If I had to do that one again, I would've gone for that," Harbaugh said Monday during his weekly news conference. "I would've gone for that one, too. I would've gone for all four. So looking back on it, the situation in the game, we had just gone for the one previous to that that was on the 4-yard line with the flip-and-go.

"So it's a little bit different during the flow of the game. I think I felt differently about it at the time with the rhythm of the game. But looking back on it, I would agree with anybody that feels like we should've gone for that. We should've gone for that."

The Ravens hadn't scored any points at this time and were in danger of being shut out for the first time since a 25-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 15, 2002.

Harbaugh said trying to build some momentum was a factor in his thought process. The Ravens finished 0 for 3 on fourth-down plays.

"I think part of it and then there's a lot of things that go in your mind," Harbaugh said. "I wanted to make sure,what happened was we got stopped the previous time with the idea that you're inside the 5-yard line. And when you go for it inside the 5-yard line, your chances of forcing them to punt the ball back to you, get the ball almost in field position and at least get that field goal right back if not a touchdown is what you're thinking.

"So the thinking there was, 'OK, that's exactly what happened. We'll get that field goal back, be within 17 and we'll have a chance here.' And if you look at the opportunities down the stretch, especially in the red zone, we had a chance to get back in that game throughout that first couple of sequences there at the end of the third quarter, beginning of the fourth quarter. But we didn't do it, so if I had to do it again, I would've gone for it."

awilson@baltsun.com

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