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Harbaugh's failed gamble seals Ravens collapse against Bills

Sun Oct 2 6:30pm ET
Associated Press

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Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey (44) intercepts a pass against the Buffalo Bills in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Devin Duvernay (13) makes a catch as a pass is deflected into the air in the first half of an NFL football game between the Ravens and the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Baltimore. Also reaching for the ball is Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (89). (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

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Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson looks for a receiver in the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

BALTIMORE (AP) Running and passing with a sense of urgency, Lamar Jackson deftly moved the Baltimore Ravens from one end of the field to the other in the fourth quarter of a tie game against the Buffalo Bills.

And then, with Baltimore facing a fourth-and-goal at the Buffalo 2 with just over four minutes left, it came time to make a decision. Go for the touchdown, or let the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history do his thing?

Coach John Harbaugh left his offense on the field. It was a gutsy call, and one he would ultimately regret.

Jackson was pressured in the pocket soon after taking the snap and ended up throwing an interception in the end zone - one that crucially resulted in a touchback. The Bills promptly went the other way and completed their rally from a 17-point deficit by kicking a field goal as time expired for a 23-20 victory Sunday.

Two weeks earlier, Harbaugh called upon Justin Tucker to kick a field goal late in a home game against Miami. Tucker delivered, but the Dolphins subsequently drove for the winning touchdown in a 42-38 comeback victory.

This time, Harbaugh went for it all. And got nothing.

''I thought like it gave us the best chance to win the game,'' he said. ''It didn't turn out that way and unfortunately, and we lost the game. Hindsight, you take the points. But you look at it analytically, you'll understand why we did it.''

And when you look at how the Ravens have played this year - frittering away a 21-point lead against the Dolphins and a 20-3 advantage against the Bills - and you'll understand why they're 2-2.

''We're going to get better. We've been here before,'' tight end Mark Andrews said.

Playing well for 58 minutes isn't good enough. Neither is a drive that lasts more than nine minutes that ends without a score.

''You've got to finish. There's no other answer,'' right tackle Morgan Moses said. ''You go 95 yards, you've got to finish in the end zone. That's on us as players.''

Jackson felt the same way. He approved the decision to go for the touchdown, regretting only that he couldn't make it work.

''I was fine with it,'' he said. ''We were executing. Next time we'll get it.''

The ill-fated play started off well, as receiver Devin Duvernay initially got open in the end zone. But an onslaught of rushing linemen pretty much ruined any chance Jackson had of getting him the ball.

''They had their hands up and I'm trying to see what's going on,'' Jackson said. ''I saw Duv in the corner late. If I saw him earlier, that would have been a touchdown.''

Instead, Jackson ended up heaving the ball an instant before he was smothered, and Buffalo's Jordan Poyer snagged it for a touchback.

''It's probably a ball that Lamar wants back. I was just able to play with some vision and take advantage of his throw.''

''(Duvernay) was wide open. Lamar didn't see him at first,'' Poyer said. ''I peeked back at Lamar, he was scrambling. As soon as I peeked at him (Duvarnay), he was raising his hands up like he wanted the ball, so I just took off. And Lamar saw him open and he kind of floated it in the air.''

The interception enabled the Bills to start their final drive at the 20 instead of their own 2, yet another down side to Harbaugh's bold decision to go for it.

So what's it going to take for the Ravens to be the ones to make a big play in the fourth quarter instead of the opposition?

''It's just executing. All 11 guys have to need to be a little bit better, a little bit sharper,'' Andrews said. ''I have a lot of confidence in this offense, this team, the guys that we have, to be able to make that play right there.

''I love that coach trusts us to do that and put the game away. Hopefully when we get another opportunity like that, we'll be ready to go.''

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Starts, Sits, Sleepers: Week 4

Player Notes
Justin Fields Oct 2 6:40pm ET
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The defense of the New York Giants limited the offense of the Chicago Bears to 12 points in the team's 20-12 victory in Week 4. Justin Fields and the offense of the Bears have mightily struggled to begin the season and the Giants didn't let them have much success this week. New York's defense would record six sacks on Fields and they would prevent Chicago's offense from scoring a touchdown. On top of that, the special teams unit and the defense of the Giants would recover three fumbles to help them improve to 3-1 on the season. After playing an anemic offense of the Bears in Week 4, the Giants will have a slightly stiffer challenge in Week 5 in a road meeting with the Green Bay Packers.

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Jonnu Smith Oct 2 6:40pm ET
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New England Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith (ankle) won't return to Sunday's matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Smith has only seven catches for 58 yards this season, so it's doubtful the latest update will impact many fantasy managers. Nevertheless, if Smith can't play in Week 5 versus Detroit, Hunter Henry may see an extra target or two, although he has been even less productive this season.

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Cordarrelle Patterson Oct 2 6:30pm ET
Cordarrelle Patterson

Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson scored only 9.8 half-point PPR fantasy points in the 23-20 win over the Cleveland Browns. The veteran running back had a 13-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. However, he had only 25 rushing yards on eight attempts the rest of the game. Patterson dealt with a knee injury in practice last week, which likely impacted his performance against Cleveland. Unfortunately, things aren't looking up for the veteran next week as the Falcons take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The reigning NFC South champions have held running backs to only 3.8 rushing yards per attempt this season.

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Javonte Williams Oct 2 6:30pm ET
Javonte Williams

Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams (knee) won't return to Sunday's matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders after being carted off the field with a knee injury. The 22-year-old didn't have the most impactful fantasy outing before going down with a knee injury, compiling only 28 yards off 10 carries. If he isn't available on Thursday night against the Colts, Melvin Gordon would most likely be the primary rusher out of the backfield, although he's currently in the doghouse after fumbling for the fourth time in four games. Mike Boone could also be heavily involved.

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Tyler Allgeier Oct 2 6:30pm ET
Tyler Allgeier

Atlanta Falcons running back Tyler Allgeier had the best game of his career against the Cleveland Browns. The rookie had a team-high 84 rushing yards on only 10 attempts in the 23-20 win over Cleveland. He also caught his only target in the contest of 20 yards, ending the game with 10.9 half-point PPR fantasy points. While the former BYU star didn't find the end, Allgeier had more rushing attempts, yards, and fantasy points than the starter Cordarrelle Patterson. Unfortunately, the Falcons face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their elite run defense next week, making Allgeier not an appealing sleeper in Week 5.

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Caleb Huntley Oct 2 6:30pm ET
Caleb Huntley

Atlanta Falcons running back Caleb Huntley had 10 rushing attempts for 56 yards and a touchdown in the 23-20 Week 4 win over the Cleveland Browns. The second-year running back had one rushing attempt for three yards before today's game against Cleveland. Yet, with Cordarrelle Patterson impacted by a knee injury and Atlanta's inability to get the passing game going, Huntley matched Tyler Allgeier with a team-high 10 rushing attempts. Given his limited play before today's win against the Browns, Huntley likely has no fantasy value moving forward without a significant injury to Patterson.

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Graham Gano Oct 2 6:30pm ET
Graham Gano

New York Giants kicker Graham Gano made two of his three field-goal attempts in the Week 4 win over the Chicago Bears. The veteran kicker would make two field goals in the second half of the contest to extend New York's lead from 14-12 to 20-12, which would be the final score of the game. Gano's lone missed field goal was a 37-yarder he attempted with under a minute remaining in the game to make it a two-possession game. Luckily, the 35-year-old kicker's missed field goal didn't come back to hurt the Giants. Gano has now made nine of his 11 field-goal attempts in the past three weeks ahead of a matchup with the Green Bay Packers in Week 5.

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Drake London Oct 2 6:30pm ET
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Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London struggled in the 23-20 Week 4 win over the Cleveland Browns. The rookie receiver had at least 54 receiving yards in every game this season before Week 4 while finding the end zone in back-to-back contests. However, the former USC star caught only two of his seven targets for 17 yards in Week 4. Despite seeing a team-high seven targets, London couldn't produce for fantasy players against the Browns. Next week the Falcons take on Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a critical NFC South matchup. Hopefully, the rookie can rebound after a disappointing Week 4 performance.

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Olamide Zaccheaus Oct 2 6:30pm ET
Olamide Zaccheaus

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus had only 19.9 half-point PPR fantasy points entering Week 4. However, the veteran receiver led the Falcons in receptions (two) and receiving yards (55) in the 23-20 win over the Cleveland Browns. Despite leading the team in both categories, the former Virginia star had only two targets and scored 6.5 half-point PPR fantasy points in the win. The Atlanta passing attack struggled as Marcus Mariota completed only 36.8% of his pass attempts for 139 passing yards. While Zaccheaus has caught 100% of his targets this season, he remains irrelevant in all fantasy football formats.

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Kyle Pitts Oct 2 6:30pm ET
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Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts continues to frustrate fantasy players this season. After a strong performance in Week 3, the second-year tight end caught only one of his four targets for 25 yards in the 23-20 Week 4 win over the Cleveland Browns. The former Florida star has been a bust this season, averaging only five half-point PPR fantasy points per game. Unfortunately, fantasy players are stuck between a rock and a hard place with the tight end. He is too talented to bench or drop, yet he has scored under 20.5 total fantasy points this season. Hopefully, Pitts gets back on track next week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Younghoe Koo Oct 2 6:30pm ET
Younghoe Koo

Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo continues to be a bright spot for the team this year. The veteran kicker made all three of his field goal attempts in the 23-20 win over the Cleveland Browns. He also made both extra-point attempts in Week 4. Koo has been arguably the best kicker in the NFL this season. The former Georgia Southern star has made 83% of his field goal attempts and all nine extra point tries this year. Despite Atlanta's offensive struggles, Koo has played well for fantasy players. He is an excellent streaming option next week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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Jonathan Taylor Oct 2 6:20pm ET
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Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (ankle) will undergo further testing to determine the severity of the ankle injury he suffered during the Week 4 loss to the Titans. Per The Athletic's Zak Keefer, the Colts fear Taylor is dealing with a high-ankle sprain, which almost certainly would sideline him for the Thursday night game in Week 5 against the Denver Broncos and possibly longer. Before going down, Taylor received 20 carries on the day. However, he only had 42 yards to show for his efforts. Fantasy managers need to keep an eye on this situation, primarily since the Colts have a quick turnaround before heading to Denver for a Thursday Night Football showdown versus the Broncos. If Taylor can't suit up for that one, Nyheim Hines will be the No. 1 option on the depth chart. Deon Jackson, who has just two carries this season, may also get involved, although managers shouldn't look in his direction.

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Dalton Schultz Oct 2 6:20pm ET
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Daniel Bellinger Oct 2 6:20pm ET
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New York Giants tight end Daniel Bellinger caught all three of his targets for 23 yards to lead the team in receiving in the Week 4 win over the Chicago Bears. The Giants were shorthanded at the wide receiver position again this week, so the rookie tight end saw an expanded role until Daniel Jones exited the game early with an ankle injury. Even though Jones only had 13 passing attempts, Tyrod Taylor would attempt only three passes once he entered the game. There's no doubt that Bellinger should continue to see opportunities each week with the lack of weapons the Giants have right now. That being said, the first-year tight end out of Georgia should only be rostered in deeper leagues right now.

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Brett Maher Oct 2 6:20pm ET
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Marcus Mariota Oct 2 6:20pm ET
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Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota struggled in the 23-20 win over the Cleveland Browns. The veteran quarterback completed only 36.8% of his pass attempts and failed to find the end zone. He also had an interception and only three rushing yards in the game. Mariota had an excellent matchup this week against the Browns. However, the former Oregon Duck had his worst game of the season. Next week the Falcons face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the first time this year. If Mariota struggles in that game, the Falcons could bench him for the rookie Desmond Ridder.

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Isaiah McKenzie Oct 2 6:10pm ET
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CeeDee Lamb Oct 2 6:10pm ET
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Kenny Golladay Oct 2 6:10pm ET
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Noah Brown Oct 2 6:10pm ET
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