NFL Wild Card PFF ReFocused: Baltimore Ravens 20, Tennessee Titans 13 - Zach Tantillo
STORY OF THE GAME
The biggest knock on Jackson during his career has been an inability to win a playoff game, but that label is no more after an impressive performance against the Titans. The contest seemed eerily similar to last year’s upset, with the Titans starting off red hot and building an early two-score lead. However, the Ravens were able to flip the momentum and outscore Tennessee, 20-3, in the final three frames.
Jackson was a force on the ground, leading all rushers with 136 yards on the ground and five rushes of 10-plus yards. The reigning MVP added 179 yards through the air, marking his third game of the season with over 100 yards rushing and passing. Jackson’s favorite target was Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, who has now recorded over 100 receiving yards in both of his playoff performances.
Dobbins ran the ball only nine times for 43 yards but made the most of his carries. He rushed for a first down or a touchdown on 33.3% of his carries. Right tackle Tyre Phillips was the only other rookie to contribute significantly for either team. Jackson was sacked a season-high five times against the Titans, and Phillips allowed one of those five sacks and two pressures on the day.
On the other side of the ball, the Ravens linebacker duo of Patrick Queen and Malik Harrisonled the way for the first-year players on either sideline, playing 41 and 27 snaps, respectively. Queen recorded one pressure on Tannehill, while Harrison recorded just one tackle. Justin Madubuike also added two tackles on just 23 defensive snaps.
Ravens players dance on Titans’ logo after fourth-quarter INT - Kevin Patra
In the regular-season matchup between Baltimore and Tennessee in November, a pregame dustup occurred when Titans players gathered on the Ravens’ midfield logo. The event included a heated exchange between coaches John Harbaugh and Mike Vrabel.
Baltimore players didn’t forget the disrespect.
Following a late fourth-quarter interception by cornerback Marcus Peters, a flock of Ravens defenders danced on the Titans’ logo, celebrating a game-icing turnover.
“I was just following my teammates. I had no idea that was happening,” Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. “I didn’t know it was happening until I got there. But at the end of the day, respect is earned. Respect is earned.”
After back-to-back losses to Tennessee, including last year’s playoff failure, Ravens players were clearly frustrated. The mid-field dance celebrated not only thwarting a now heated opponent but marked the club’s first postseason victory with Jackson under center.
Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson tops 100 yards rushing en route to first career playoff win - Jamison Hensley
The reigning NFL MVP changed the game with a 48-yard touchdown scramble, the second-longest postseason touchdown run by a quarterback, and bounced back from an early interception to record the biggest comeback of his career. Jackson rallied the Ravens from a 10-0 deficit after being 0-6 in his career when trailing by double digits.
“It feels great,” Jackson told ESPN’s Lisa Salters. “I’m happy we got it done.”
“We stayed focused. We didn’t get rattled. My coaches didn’t get rattled,” Jackson told Salters. “I threw a dumbass — I’m sorry — dumb interception. But we kept fighting and made it happen.”
Jackson has produced one of the most memorable starts to an NFL career. He was the youngest quarterback to win NFL MVP last season. He became the fastest quarterback to win 30 games in NFL history when he clinched a playoff berth in the season finale (his 37th game).
Now he finally has a postseason victory.
Wild-Card Takeaways: Lamar Beats Playoff Narrative, Bills End Drought, Gutsy Goff, Heinicke Shines - Gary Gramling
Put the Lamar Jackson Playoff Narrative to Bed: It was the opposite of fun while it lasted, building a hot-take narrative off a two-game sample size. But now that Lamar Jackson has a playoff win—a come-from-behind playoff win, at that—we can get back to conversing like adults.
The Line of Scrimmage Belonged to the Ravens: With their defensive line back at full strength unlike in the first Titans-Ravens this year, Baltimore had little trouble doing what you have to do against Derrick Henry: Get to him early and don’t let him build up a head of steam. It was Brandon Williams, Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe, but Matt Judon and Pernell McPhee was tremendous on the edges. Henry finished with 40 yards on 18 carries, his lowest rushing output since a Week 6 loss in Denver last season, when Marcus Mariota was still the Titans’ quarterback.
The Breakdown: Five Thoughts on Playoff Win vs. Titans - John Eisenberg
I’m guessing the Ravens weren’t surprised in the least to see the Titans stacking their defense against the run, which meant, in effect, that they were daring the Ravens to beat them in the air. I mean, who wouldn’t? The Ravens had averaged 267 rushing yards per game during their season-ending five-game winning streak, and their passing game was among the league’s lowest-rated. To keep the strategy from working, the Ravens’ wide receivers needed to make the Titans pay. Brown did just that. The second-year receiver has experienced his share of ups and downs in 2020, but let the record show that he came up huge when the Ravens really needed him. And contrary to his reputation, he didn’t do it with some big downfield play like his already-legendary catch against the Browns in December. He just steadily burned the Titans, taking what was being given, moving the chains, ending the game with seven catches for 109 yards. (His stat line jumps to nine touches for 128 yards if you include a pair of lateral receptions that count as runs.) As with Jackson, it’s evidence of a young player growing up before your eyes. “He has come up big for us. You’ve got to make plays in the passing game,” Harbaugh said.