Baltimore Ravens gun for 'meaningful' rushing record in lieu of ending game with QB kneel

DENVER -- The Baltimore Ravens might have made NFL history in how they went about matching NFL history.

With three seconds left in Sunday's game against the Broncos, the Ravens decided not to take a knee to run out the clock and instead chose to tie a 44-year-old NFL rushing record. Up 23-7, coach John Harbaugh said it was "100 percent my call" for quarterback Lamar Jackson to run 5 yards, which allowed Baltimore to record its 43rd straight game of 100 yards rushing.

"It's one of those things that's meaningful," Harbaugh said. "It's a very, very tough record to accomplish. It's a long-term record. So, I'm not going to say it's more important than winning the game, for sure. It's certainly not. But, as a head coach, I think you do that for your players and you do that for your coaches, and that's something they'll have for the rest of their lives."

The Elias Sports Bureau could not confirm the last time in the past 25 years that a team gained yards on a play that began in the final five seconds while leading by at least 10 points. Elias did find a play in 1992, when Spencer Tillman ran for 1 yard with two seconds left when his Houston Oilers led the San Diego Chargers 27-0.

On Sunday, it looked like the Ravens would fall one game short of tying the Pittsburgh Steelers, who produced 43 consecutive 100-yard games from 1974 to 1977 behind running back Franco Harris. But Baltimore cornerback Anthony Averett intercepted Broncos quarterback Drew Lock in the end zone, giving the Ravens one last play.

Baltimore, which had 97 yards rushing, then had Jackson run a quarterback keeper to the left side to extend the streak.

Jackson said he didn't know what Harbaugh was thinking because the victory was sealed at that point.

"I'm not going to lie. I ain't really care about the record," Jackson said. "I wasn't thinking about that. I was thinking about winning the game."

The Broncos were not asked about the Ravens' decision on that final play.

The Ravens' streak of 100-yard rushing games dates to Jackson's first game as their starting quarterback on Nov. 18, 2018. The next longest active 100-yard streak belongs to the Cleveland Browns at five games.

"Whenever you're in the record books, it's important," Ravens wide receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown said. "So, it's great to get that done."