Offensive standouts from Ravens Wildcard win over Titans

The Baltimore Ravens won their first playoff game in six years and dispelled several narratives surrounding the team and reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson with a 20-13 road triumph over Tennessee Titans on Super Wildcard Weekend.

It marked their third matchup with Tennessee within the last 12 months and the second in playoffs during that span.

On offense, Jackson and company recovered from a sloppy start and scored 17 unanswered points to dig themselves out an early 10-point hole and sealed the game with their potent and punishing rushing attack that racked up 236 yards on the ground.

Here are some of the defensive standouts from their impressive Wildcard win:

QB Lamar Jackson

The third-year quarterback notched his first playoff win after two years of early exits which dispelled one narrative about him and the team.

He led a comeback from a double-digit deficit which dispelled another narrative and even though he did most of his damage with his legs, he made winning plays and great plays with his arm which in the immortal word of DJ Khaled was “another one” dispelled.

“I don’t really care what people say,” Jackson said. “I’m just happy we got the win and [we get to] move on to the next round, that’s it.”

Jackson and the Ravens woke up in the second quarter after falling behind early and took the game over the game by outscoring Tennessee 20-3 the rest of the way.

He finished 17-of-24 for 179 yards with a 70.83 completion percentage, no touchdowns to one interception, and a passer rating of 74.8.

Jackson led the team in rushing by a large margin with a game-high 136 yards on 16 carries and his electrifying 48-yard touchdown run in the second quarter didn’t just tie the game, it was the catalyst that sparked Baltimore’s comeback and swung all the momentum in their favor for the remainder of the game.

“That’s one of the best runs I’ve ever seen” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s the best run I’ve ever seen by a quarterback. I think it’s even greater than the Cincinnati run he had a year or two ago. That was just a phenomenal play…We needed points at that point. It got us back in the game.

His ability to invigorate and inspire with both his play and leadership on and off the field have been key in the Ravens’ strong finish to the regular season after a 6-5 start and will continue to be the driving force going forward.

RB J.K. Dobbins

The second-round pick out of Ohio State continued to build off a sensational finish to the regular season portion of his rookie year with a strong showing in his playoff debut.

He finished second on the team in rushing with nine carries for 43 yards and scored a touchdown for a record seventh straight game including the playoffs.

He averaged nearly five yards per carry and could’ve had a lot more production had Jackson decided to hand the ball off to him more often when he went in motion and could’ve used his speed to get to the edge or if he had just left the ball in the rookie’s gut on some zone-read and read-option plays less often.

WR Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown:

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown (15) gets past Tennessee Titans cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (25) in the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

The second-year wide receiver has proved to be more than just a vertical speedster down the final stretch of the regular season for the Ravens and his emergence has helped the offense evolve into an even more dangerous balanced attack.

Brown had a great game against the Titans when these two teams faced off in last year’s playoffs and he did it again on Sunday with 128 yards from scrimmage. He caught seven of his nine targets for 109 receiving yards and picked up 19 yards rushing on two backward passes as well.

The Ravens got Hollywood the ball at every level from short to intermediate as well as deep downfield and let him use his dynamic playmaking ability and blazing speed to pick up additional yardage and move the chains.

“He’s come up big for us, man,” Harbaugh said. “He’s made so many plays. He’s come up big for us; catch-and-run plays, over-the-top plays

He picked a first down and then some on six of his nine touches including hauling in a beautifully placed back-shoulder pass for 28 yards on the Ravens first scoring drive and a 20-yard catch and run play in the second half where he made one defender missed and continued up the left sideline for another 15 yards or so.

FB Patrick Ricard

Baltimore Ravens fullback Patrick Ricard (42) is stopped byTennessee Titans defenders Harold Landry (58) and Adoree’ Jackson (25) in the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

The converted defensive lineman turned two-time Pro Bowl fullback made his presence felt in both the running and passing game. In addition to being a punishing run blocker, he contributed as a pass-catcher as well by hauling in three of his career-high four targets for 26 yards.

“It felt amazing, just for the coaches to put me in that position to make those plays, and Lamar [Jackson] had a lot of great passes to me,” Ricard said. “I just had to execute, make the play, secure the ball and try to get as many yards as I could. In a game like this, it means a lot to help this offense, this team, do whatever I can – I pride myself on that.”

Ricard picked up first downs with two of his three receptions and was Jackson’s first read on rollouts to the right because the Titans left him wide open in the flat.

“They were dropping ‘Pat’ [Patrick Ricard], leaving him in the flats because they were so concerned about ‘Hollywood’ [Marquise Brown], Mark Andrews and those guys,” Jackson said. “Pat Ricard was sneaking out the backfield and being wide open and getting some yards, getting some first downs for us. That’s what we needed – to keep the ball moving.

He was also the lead blocker that Dobbins’ touchdown run that made the final block to open the crease that the rookie hit for the four-yard score.

“I thought it was a great job by Coach Roman,” Harbaugh said. “Pat can catch the ball and head upfield, as everybody saw. The way they were playing the defense, that area of the field became an opportunity for us. The coaches did a great job of recognizing that. We’ve had those plays in, they’re a part of the offense. That was huge for us.”

Honorable mentions:

RB Gus Edwards

The third-year running back nicknamed ‘Gus the Bus’ has been a consistent producer for the Ravens all year long and even though he finished third on the team in rushing in this game with eight carries for 38 yards, his eight carry was the most important of the game.

His final touch came on a crucial third-down with just under a minute and a half left on the clock and the Ravens holding a seven-point lead. They were already deep into Titans’ territory but need to gain one more yard to pick up the first down and officially ice the game.

Edwards received the inside handoff from Jackson and even after being first contacted in the backfield, he still gained the yard necessary to move the chains and finished the run with authority as he picked up four more before finally being brought down by a swarm of despondent tacklers.

TE Mark Andrews

The Pro Bowl tight end finished second on the team in receiving yards (41), receptions (four), and targets (six). The majority of his yardage came on a pair of 17-yard receptions that came on drives that ended in Justin Tucker field goals.

One of the two 17-yard gains came on a crucial third down in the final seconds of the first quarter that was dominated by the Titans. Jackson made an great throw and Andrews made an even more incredible catch with a defender draped all over him in coverage.

It gave the Ravens new life to start the second and they would go on to tie the game at the half before taking over in the final two quarters.

“That was kind of a turning point,” Harbaugh said. “We needed that to keep things going, because we really hadn’t done anything up until that point. So, those two guys making that play – and that’s what it was; two guys making a play – was huge for us.”

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