Before Sunday’s NFL Wild Card Round game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Los Angeles Chargers, many were reporting how Lamar Jackson would be the youngest quarterback to ever play in a postseason game at 21-years-old.
He looked exactly like that during the game itself, as the rookie had a game to forget until late in the fourth quarter. Jackson was 3-of-10 for 25 yards and an interception with his quarterback rating was zero midway through the fourth quarter.
Fans even booed the Ravens offense every single time they made their way out onto the field for a drive in the third quarter despite the game being played in Baltimore. Head coach John Harbaugh stood firm though and kept Jackson in.
The final score finished 23-17 in the Chargers’ favour, meaning they’ll go on to face the New England Patriots in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Ravens’ rookie quarterback was able to throw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but this wasn’t enough to change the result.
Despite the loss, Baltimore’s head coach believes he made the right decision by keeping Jackson in the game instead of replacing him with his more experienced and Super Bowl-winning backup in Flacco.
Harbaugh said to ESPN: “In the end — talk about the fourth quarter — Lamar played really well in two-minute. I don’t think Joe would have played any better in two-minute.
“You have to say, based on that part of it [and] at that point in time in the game, it was the right decision.”
The Ravens head coach made it clear after the game as well that Jackson is the future and Flacco is no longer in the team’s plans.
He said: “Lamar is our quarterback going forward — no question about that. Joe Flacco is going to play really well in this league.
“Joe can still play, and I think we saw that, first half of the season. Joe is going to have a market. A lot of teams are going to want Joe. I’ll be in Joe’s corner, wherever he’s at, unless we play him.”
Flacco was very supportive of Jackson as well despite not being called up to replace him late in the game due to his poor performance.
He said: “You can’t even go there, man. I thought Lamar did a great job of hanging in there and giving us a chance at the end.”
The loss wasn’t all the rookie’s fault. The Chargers were superb on defense as their scheme of playing seven defensive backs for 57 of their 58 defensive plays worked a treat.
Also, the Ravens’ offensive line was terrible, as Jackson was sacked seven times, two more than any other rookie quarterback in NFL playoff history.
However, the 21-year-old acknowledged after the game that he played poorly, but all the team can do now is look forward to next season.
He said: “We just played like we didn’t want to be here. I did, not my team. I feel like I played poorly. We have to move on now, get ready for next year.”