As startling as it might have been to watch Ravens punter Sam Koch run around in the end zone for the final 11 seconds of their 19-14 win Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, it all went according to plan.
Facing fourth-and-8 from their 23-yard line, the Ravens did not want to give Cincinnati a chance to turn a 19-12 deficit into a tie. So special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg, head coach John Harbaugh and kicking consultant Randy Brown devised a plan to concede a safety but also run out the clock.
"It was early in the series" when the coaches began formulating the play, Koch said. "Just kind of going over some possible situations that could arise in that situation. When you have someone like Jerry and John and Randy all there, with the minds that they have, it's one of those situations they brought up. So it played out in the end, and we've got to thank Jerry Rosburg for that."
The play was similar to the one the Ravens used to defeat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. On fourth-and-7 from the Ravens 8 with 12 seconds left, Koch scampered around the end zone until he was forced out of bounds.
After that safety, San Francisco still had four seconds left to potentially return the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. On Sunday, Koch made sure he ran out all 11 seconds before stepping out of the back of the end zone.
"We know what we did wrong in the Super Bowl, and we kind of learned from it and just made sure that everybody did what they needed to and held on as long as they could and ended up winning the game," he said.
Although several Ravens were flagged for holding Sunday, the Bengals were not awarded an untimed down because they were not defensive penalties.
Harbaugh said Koch would have had options had the Bengals penetrated the protection and pressured him, but the play worked as well as the Ravens could have hoped for.
"I thought our guys did a great job," Harbaugh said. "Part of the deal was just identifying all of their men, because if we misidentify on the count and leave one guy running through there, he's going to get to Sam, and there's going to be very little time off the clock. Everybody did a great job of communicating."