THAT'S ONE! LAMAR IS ON THE BOARD BABY!!!!!
The Ravens may not have played a complete 60 minutes of great football, but they surely dominated the last 3 quarters. The first quarter was nothing less than a complete disaster. The Titans moved the ball with ease and Lamar threw an awful pick on his first downfield pass attempt. After finding themselves down 10-0 to end the first, they easily could have panicked and let this game get away from them. They didn't. They stayed committed to the type of football that makes the Ravens who they are, which is a team that dominates the run game on both sides of the ball. Even with middling success early on, they didn't quit on it and eventually they wore the Titans down. This is in stark contrast to how they reacted to a 14-0 deficit last year in Baltimore when they ended up throwing 59 times.
The play that everyone will talk about is the 48 yard TD to tie the game. Rightfully so, it was fucking electric.
But I think the biggest play of this game (and possibly of Lamar's career) was the 3rd and 7 completion to finish the 1st quarter.
Without this play, the Ravens punt and give the Titans back the ball down 10-0. The Titans were smelling blood in the water and they easily could have gone for the throat there. The Ravens proceeded to drive down the field and slow down the game a bit with 3 points. The rest is history.
Take that first INT away and Lamar Jackson played a really excellent game. 17/24 with 179 yards passing and another 136 yards on the ground. Those numbers aren't gaudy but with the way the Ravens controlled the game and ate up clock, it was what the doctor ordered today. This team goes as Lamar goes, and he stepped up in a big way after a challenging start to the game.
Just as important is the way the defense played today. They were lights out man. They struggled in the early going with AJ Brown (including an extremely questionable non OPI call on the TD), but responded in a big way. The biggest storyline besides Lamar going into this game was whether the Ravens had an answer for Derrick Henry. I was confident that having Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell healthy (they missed the week 11 game) would be a huge difference maker in that effort. Derrick Henry was held to 40 yards on 18 carries. They had one rushing first down, a QB sneak by Tannehill late in the game. The defensive front 7 deserves an enormous amount of credit for their efforts today. Pernell McPhee especially deserves a shoutout for the physicality he brought to the game.
The Ravens outgained the Titans 401 to 209. They had 22 first downs to the Titans 12. Time of possession was 33:38 to 26:22. Even with the one-sided 1st quarter, this was a dominant effort by the Ravens. And somehow that game still was in the balance in the late going. It took a pick by Marcus Peters to finally put the Titans 6 feet under. But I can live with that because I can't think of a single person better suited to bury the Titans and lead those guys onto the midfield logo. You knew it was going to happen if the Ravens won this game, there's just nobody better at talking shit than MP24.
Love this football team. We'll watch Browns-Steelers tonight with a smile on our face as we wait to find out whether we're going to Buffalo or Kansas City next week. I respect both those teams, but I fear neither. This team has been rolling. Channel those last 3 quarters and we're gonna be tough to beat. So glad we can put that Lamar nonsense to bed.
On to the divisional round. GO EVERYBODY.