Ravens’ season ends with Jackson in locker room, 17-3 loss
|Toronto Star 16 Jan 2021 at 23:29|
A season in which the Baltimore Ravens overcame a long list of obstacles to reach the playoffs ended with their star quarterback stuck in the locker room during the fourth quarter and the rest of the team shuffling off the field to join him after a disheartening defeat.
The Ravens and Lamar Jackson were stymied for the much of Saturday night by a hustling, relentless Buffalo defence. Yet, Baltimore had overcome several mistakes to move within striking distance of scoring the tying touchdown late in the third quarter.
Then, the biggest miscue on a night of missteps for the Ravens effectively put an end to an otherwise memorable season.
Jackson targeted tight end Mark Andrews in the end zone and fired a pass that was intercepted by Taron Johnson and taken the other way for a 101-yard touchdown.
Jackson was knocked out of the game with a concussion on the following series, leaving a Ravens comeback bid as futile as spitting into the formidable wind that blew hard throughout the 17-3 defeat.
The Ravens stormed into the second-round playoff game with a six-game winning streak generated by a strong offence and steady defence. But Baltimore failed to score a touchdown, not with Jackson taking the snaps nor with backup Tyler Huntley trying in vain to generate a rally.
Baltimore was done in by too many mistakes, most notably Jackson’s ill-fated throw that produced a 14-point swing. The usually reliable Justin Tucker had two field-goal tries clang off the uprights, and veteran punter Sam Koch shanked a 23-yarder.
And if there was any hope of a miracle finish, it faded with a roughing-the-kicker call against Baltimore just after the two-minute warning.
The Ravens (12-6) reached the post-season after battling an outbreak of COVID-19, an altered schedule and season-ending injuries to starting tackle Ronnie Stanley and tight end Nick Boyle.
In the end, however, they got blown away on a windy night by a team that chased Jackson all over the field. In fact, it was almost surprising that Buffalo’s defence didn’t pursue the frustrated quarterback into the visitor’s locker room after tackling him hard in the end zone on what turned out to be Jackson’s final play of the season.
Baltimore’s No.1-ranked rushing game generated 150 yards, but Jackson was limited to 34 yards on nine carries with a long of 15 yards.
Throwing under duress for much of the game, Jackson went 14 of 24 for 162 yards with an interception and three sacks.
The defence did a decent job against Josh Allen, but Stefon Diggs had eight catches for 106 yards and scored the game’s lone offensive touchdown.