Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson on four-interception game: ‘I looked like a rookie’ - Jamison Hensley
“Bad passes, inaccurate, underthrown passes. That’s all I seen. Bad reads,” Jackson said. “I looked like a rookie.”
“No excuses,” he said. “That was just a bad performance. Four interceptions. Hope that never, ever happens again. Not ever.”
Jackson is heading into the part of the season where he has flourished. He has won 12 straight games as a starter in December and January. The only starting QBs with longer winning streaks in December/January regular-season games since the start of 1950 are Philip Rivers (19 in a row) and Daryle Lamonica (14), according to Elias Sports Bureau research.
The Ravens are feeling a sense of urgency on offense. When asked what it’s going to take for the offense to play more consistently, Jackson apologized to a reporter for not letting him finish his question, saying, “We just need to do us. It’ll start back soon. We need to right away. Hopefully this week, it’ll start.”
Unmasking NFL’s pretenders as playoffs near: One metric shows who’s for real amid jumbled landscape - Jason La Canfora
For instance, if the playoffs started right now, the Ravens would be the top seed in the AFC. However, they rank just 10th in that conference in net touchdowns. Baltimore (8-3) has actually yielded two more touchdowns than it has scored, while Miami (5-7), which seemed left for dead during a seven-game losing streak, is actually only just behind the Ravens at -3. Oh, and the Dolphins did beat the Ravens just a few weeks back and have strung together four straight wins.
Kinda shows you how close the margins are and how wacky this game can be.
But I also believe it is telling. The Ravens are not an elite team on offense or defense (the team rushing totals look gaudy but they’re propelled by off-script runs by the quarterback; the running backs themselves have been largely well below league average). It took an officiating error and the longest field goal in NFL history for the Ravens to beat the winless Lions, they escaped the Browns last week despite four turnovers, and they give up as many big plays as any team in the NFL. It would seem that they are significantly out-performing the Pythagorean landscape with their current seed being nine spots above where they sit in AFC net touchdowns.
How good is your NFL coach on fourth-down calls? We rank all 32 - Jamison Hensley
3. John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
Years covered: 2017-21
Win probability sacrificed on fourth-down errors: 14.6% (Rank: 3)
Difference in expected vs. actual fourth-down conversions: 2.9% (Rank: 8)
Non-obvious fourth-down error rate: 21.6% (Rank: 7)
Most notable fourth-down call: In October 2019, the Ravens were tied at 13 in Seattle midway through the third quarter and faced a fourth-and-2 at the Seahawks’ 8-yard line. After sending out Justin Tucker for a field goal, Harbaugh saw the upset look on Lamar Jackson’s face and asked him if he wanted to go for it. Jackson responded, “Let’s get it” and then fought his way to the end zone by running a “quarterback power” play for a touchdown in a 30-16 victory. This moment kick-started Jackson’s MVP season and showed why he is the winningest quarterback since taking over in Baltimore in the middle of the 2018 campaign. “This guy is a competitor of the nth degree,” Harbaugh said at the time. “And it showed today. You saw that fire.”
Ravens-Steelers Week 13 Preview, Prediction, Where to Watch - Todd Karpovich
The Steelers have several ball hawks on their team, including safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, so Jackson will have to be more careful with the ball. Baltimore also needs to start faster. The Ravens have not scored a first-quarter touchdown since Oct. 17 against the Chargers.
Pittsburgh had a fierce pass rush with 30 sacks this season. However, defensive end T.J. Watt is on the reserve/COVID-19 list, which further hampers the Steelers’ defense if. The Ravens should be able to move the ball if they avoid those costly turnovers.
The Steelers have struggled to move the ball and are scoring 20.4 points per game, which ranks 22nd in the league. Ben Roethlisberger has thrown for 2,522 yards with 14 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. He is 15-10 all-time against the Ravens.
The Steelers’ offensive line has not given Roethlisberger much time to throw and he’s been sacked 24 times. The key for the Ravens will be shutting down running back Najee Harris, who has run for 708 yards.
The Steelers swept the Ravens last season but this is a new year. Pittsburgh’s offense has struggled and the defense will have to play without its best player in Watt. The Ravens are finding ways to win despite the injuries and turnovers.
Ravens 24, Steelers 13
NFL picks, predictions against spread Week 13: Bills stop Patriots; Chiefs slow Broncos; 49ers, Dolphins stay hot - Vinnie Iyer
Ravens (-3, 44 o/u) at Steelers
Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS
The Ravens aren’t getting many style points of late with Lamar Jackson producing some sloppy passing with more turnovers. But they are still winning enough to be the No. 1 seed in the AFC and the Steelers’ putrid run defense will take pressure off Jackson. The Steelers will keep it close with their quick passing game and tough running from Najee Harris, but the Ravens will grind another one away with Justin Tucker kicking home the game winner.
Pick: Ravens win 23-20.