Lamar Jackson had a great year, but this is a crushing loss

Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson may be picking up an MVP trophy in a few weeks, but his season will go down as a disappointment with the Ravens going down in flames in the playoffs.

This year was the beginning of the Lamar Jackson era in the NFL, with the Baltimore Ravens’ star taking the league by storm during the regular season. Jackson dominated on the ground, rushing for over 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns, while throwing for another 3,127 yards with a sterling 36:6 touchdown to interception ratio in 15 games.

That will all be forgotten, however, as Jackson delivered his worst performance of the season at the absolute wrong time for the Ravens. The counting stats don’t look terrible at the end for Jackson, who ran for over 100 yards and threw a touchdown pass, but he barely completed more than 50 percent of his passes while turning the ball over three times.

To make matters worse, Jackson completely lost the ability to gain short yardage in this game, failing to convert on a pair of 4th and 1 opportunities that set up Tennessee touchdown drives. This performance wasn’t as bad as the stink bomb Jackson delivered against the Los Angeles Chargers in the Wild Card round last January, but it raises some serious questions about his ability to perform in the clutch.


While this loss was a team failure, with Baltimore’s inability to stop Derrick Henry or prevent big plays in the passing game playing a big role in the Ravens’ loss, Jackson will take the most heat since he was being praised as the league’s best player. This is now the Ravens’ second consecutive bad home playoff loss with Jackson at the helm of the franchise and a massive wasted opportunity since Baltimore played like the best team in football for most of the season.

It is also fair to wonder if the Ravens made a mistake resting Jackson in Week 17 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Baltimore did have nothing to play for in that game, and Jackson’s physical style of play makes him an injury risk, but sitting him gave him essentially three weeks without playing competitive football.

That is an awfully long time for any quarterback to go without getting rusty, and given how unique the Ravens’ system is perhaps giving Jackson even a half in the Pittsburgh game would have suited him well for the playoffs. It won’t matter now, however, with the Ravens going home and squandering one of the most exciting seasons in the history of football from the quarterback position.

Next: Jimmy Garoppolo passes first playoff test

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