Lamar Jackson Suffers Injury in Playoff Loss To Bills

Photo courtesy of Twitter.

By Terrance Turner

Jan. 16, 2021

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson enjoyed his first playoff victory last Sunday, as the Ravens beat the Tennessee Titans. But Jackson appears to have suffered a head injury in tonight’s match versus the Buffalo Bills. After being tackled in the end zone, Jackson’s head hit the turf as he fell backward.

Jackson has left the field and headed to the locker room, according to sports/pop culture site The Ringer. He would remain their for the rest of the night. NFL reporter Ian Rapoport says Jackson is now in concussion protocol; he was ruled out and did not return.

The injury comes after what appeared to have been a rough game: neither offense achieved much in the first half, with usually-reliable Ravens kicker Justin Tucker missing two field goals. The score was 3-3 at halftime. Since then, the Buffalo Bills have surged, scoring twice. The Ravens lost to the Bills, 17-3.

Lamar Jackson Earns Playoff Win (Finally) as Ravens Top Titans

By Terrance Turner

Jan. 10, 2021

Today, the Baltimore Ravens battled the Tennessee Titans in the NFL playoffs. It’s the second day of a two-day tripleheader. It was a tale of two defenses. Baltimore’s defense contained Derrick Henry, holding him to 40 yards, and Tennessee’s defense utterly failed to stop Lamar Jackson. The Ravens quarterback rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown as the Ravens defeated the Titans, 20-13.

Both teams went three-and-out on their opening drives. Tennessee rebounded with a scoring drive that featured two first-down catches by Titans receiver A.J. Brown. Tight end Anthony Firkser made a crucial first-down catch. That was followed by a one-handed grab by Brown for the touchdown. That made it 7-0.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson got intercepted by Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler. (That’s Butler’s second postseason pick, after the one he made for the Patriots during a Super Bowl.) Tennessee soon launched another drive. Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill hit Firkser for 35 yards. That set up a 45-yard field goal by Titans kicker Stephen Gostkowski. 10-0.

In the second quarter, Jackson took the Ravens to the red zone. They have struggled in this area against Tennessee, and this time was no exception. Jackson was sacked in the end zone (this time by Brooks Reed, former Texans linebacker). Tannehill, too, was sacked on the Titans drive.

Jackson led his team to take the lead. On 3rd and 9, Jackson took off, running into the end zone for the touchdown. That tied the game. It was 10-10 as the Titans’ next drive began. It went nowhere, and the Ravens’ next drive ended disastrously. WR Dez Bryant got tangled up with CB Malcolm Butler and got flagged for a late-hit after he knocked Butler over. That 15-yard penalty came near the end of the first half. It was tied 10-10 at the half.

In the second half, Baltimore took the lead. Running back J.K. Dobbins had a 4-yard rushing touchdown to give the Ravens the lead. They were ahead 17-10. The Titans were stymied on their next drive, and the Ravens too had problems when Jackson suffered his fourth sack of the day. The Titans eventually found their footing, driving down to the red zone. But after reaching 1st and goal, the Titans struggled. Tannehill was tackled on 3rd and goal, forcing a field goal. Stephen Gostkowski drilled a 25-yard attempt to make it 17-13.

The Ravens attempted a field goal at the end of their drive, too. But kicker Justin Tucker’s 52-yard attempt was no good. Despite getting flagged for offensive pass interference on a subsequent drive, the Ravens made it within field-goal range. Tucker kicked a field goal to make it 20-13. That’s how it ended. With under two minutes left, Tannehill was intercepted by cornerback Marcus Peters. Baltimore players rushed onto the Titans’ logo, drawing a flag for taunting. But the Ravens ran downfield to nab a first-down and seal their win. They triumphed, 20-13.

Dez Bryant Out for MNF, But Ravens Continue Wild Ride With Unforgettable Win

By Terrance Turner

Dec. 8, 2020 (first published Nov. 30; updated Dec. 14)

Tonight’s Ravens-Cowboys game started with high drama.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Dez Bryant was pulled from pregame warmups before tonight’s game against the Dallas Cowboys (his former team). Bryant left practice in order to take a test for COVID-19. (NFL reporter Kevin Seifert says that Bryant had taken a test this morning that came back “inconclusive” after he took the field. That necessitated a follow-up test, which came back positive.)

Less than an hour before game time, Bryant tweeted that he had tested positive for coronavirus. This, of course, would prevent him from playing in tonight’s game. But according to Bryant, he may be out for the rest of the season:

This comes after a dramatic sequence of events for the Ravens. On Monday, November 23, multiple players tested positive for COVID-19 after the Ravens’ loss to the Tennessee Titans. (The players included running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins, who tested positive for coronavirus on Nov. 23. Both players were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, per the NFL Network. The Ravens shut down their facility, the NFL said.)

On Wednesday, Nov. 25, a scheduled game between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers was postponed. The match had been scheduled for Thanksgiving night (Nov. 26). But the day before, NPR reported that the game was being postponed, after at least seven Ravens players tested positive for the coronavirus or were in close contact with someone who was infected. The news was confirmed by team releases.

On Thanksgiving night, word broke that four players — including Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson — had also tested positive for COVID-19. The next day, the NFL made a major decision. On Friday, Nov. 27, the Ravens-Steelers game was rescheduled to Tuesday, Dec. 1. That decision came after more positive tests by players within the organization. (As a result, the Cowboys-Ravens game was moved to tonight, from its original scheduling of Dec. 4.) On Saturday, six more players were added to the reserve/COVID-19 list, per ESPN. That gave Baltimore at total of 17 positive tests.

Ravens’ game versus the Steelers had been rescheduled for Tuesday night, Dec. 1. But additional positive tests mandated another change of plans. On Nov. 30th, the game was rescheduled for the third time, due to COVID-19. This was the first match this season to be rescheduled three times, according to ESPN. (By that point, at least one Ravens player had tested positive for nine straight days, prompting the decision.)

The game was set for Wednesday at 3:40 pm. It was the first Wednesday NFL game since 2012, ESPN says. The game kicked off at 3:40 p.m. because NBC, which is broadcasting the game, wanted to honor its commitment to broadcast a Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on Wednesday night, sources told ESPN reporter Adam Schefter. The Ravens lost to the Steelers on Wednesday afternoon, marking Pittsburgh’s 11th straight victory.

Players who test positive must quarantine for 10 days. Two other players were put on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list that week, which means they either contracted the coronavirus or came into close contact with someone who had it, according to the Ravens’ roster.

The Ravens officially placed three more starters, including two 2019 Pro Bowlers, on that list last Monday. Tight end Mark Andrews, outside linebacker Matthew Judon and wide receiver Willie Snead IV were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list Monday. Andrews, who is also a Type-1 diabetic, has played every game this season and leads the Ravens in catches (38), receiving yards (454) and touchdown catches (six). Andrews and Judon are both 2019 Pro Bowlers, making it seven Pro Bowlers on the list for Baltimore. As of today (Nov. 30), 21 players have been placed on that list, per the Ravens organization.

Despite all this drama, the Ravens won! The team beat the Cowboys 34-17 in tonight’s game, racking up 294 yards on the ground. Quarterback Lamar Jackson rushed for a 37-yard touchdown, then threw another TD to wide receiver Marquise Brown. RB J.K. Dobbins (who also tested positive for COVID-19) ran in for a touchdown just before the two-minute warning.

Jackson threw for 107 yards and two touchdowns, in spite of his lingering COVID-19 symptoms. “I still can’t really taste or smell, but I’m good now,” he told reporters after the game. “I guess my taste or smell gon’ come back sooner or later…I wouldn’t wish that on nobody, though.”

Derrick Henry Powers Titans to Overtime Win Against Ravens

Photo courtesy of Twitter.

By Terrance Turner

Nov. 22, 2020 (updated Nov. 23)

The Tennessee Titans rallied from an 11-point deficit to win their match against the Baltimore Ravens today. It was a surprising end to a game that got heated early, with Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler arguing with Ravens coach John Harbaugh during the pregame. That led to Harbaugh having words with Titans coach Ryan Vrabel. Other players also began exchanging words, according to CBS.

Predictably, the ensuing action made for a tough, physical game. Despite being down 21-10 at one point, the Titans combined a strong running game and surprisingly strong passing to tie the game at 24. But it was running back Derrick Henry that sealed their win in overtime, dashing past defenders to score a dramatic game-winning touchdown. The Ravens suffered a big loss, compounded by the loss of two major players: running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins have both tested positive for COVID-19, according to Bleacher Report. The NFL announced today that the Ravens have closed their team facility.

Tennessee took an early lead, limiting Baltimore to a field goal. The Titans led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter. But in the second quarter, Tyus Bowser intercepted Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Ravens got the ball, and kicker Justin Tucker nailed another field goal to make it 7-6. With about five minutes left in the quarter, Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins rushed into the end zone for the touchdown. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson later connected with Dobbins for a successful two-point conversion. That gave them the lead.

With the score 14-10 in the third quarter, Lamar Jackson slung a far-flung pass to tight end Mark Andrews. That made the score 21-10, with 9:40 left in the quarter. But the Titans fought back — hard. After two field goals from kicker Stephen Gostkowski, the Titans narrowed the lead to five. It was 21-16, with roughly 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Then receiver A.J. Brown made an incredible TD run, breaking one Ravens tackle after another and pushing past them into the end zone.

But the Ravens weren’t done yet: Justin Tucker made a field goal to tie the game near the end of the fourth quarter. That tied them at 24 and sent the game to overtime.

In overtime, Tannehill launched a big throw to wide receiver Corey Davis. That took them to Baltimore’s 37-yard line. Henry then turned hat could’ve been a loss of two yards into a gain of four. Davis made a second big catch on the next play. Davis’ big game came just 11 days after a major loss: his 27-year-old brother Titus died of kidney cancer on Nov. 11.

After another Henry run, Tannehill hurled the ball to receiver A.J. Brown for an 11-yard gain. Brown was driven to the ground by a Ravens defender. He was shaken up on the play and took time getting up, but he still made the catch. And that catch would set up a stellar touchdown run.

Tannehill threw to Henry. After breaking tackles, Henry made a jump cut to the right, evading the defense and running into the end zone for a 29-yard game-winning touchdown. His shocking score gave his team the win. The Titans won, 30-24. They now improve to 7-3 for the season.

This is Henry’s 50th NFL career TD. He is the first NFL running back to reach 1000 rushing yards for the season, according to FOX Sports. Henry’s sensational performance showed once again how he earned the title “King Henry”.

Photo courtesy of Twitter (@TheCheckdown).

A Meditation on the Black Quarterback

By Terrance Turner

As we conclude Black History Month, I wanted to make note of a historic feat that may have gone overlooked. Four weeks ago, Patrick Mahomes became only the third black quarterback to win a Super Bowl. (Doug Williams was the first, in 1987; Russell Wilson was the second, in 2014.) Mahomes — the son of a black father and white mother — caught fire late in Super Bowl 54 to lead the Chiefs to victory. Mahomes’ stunning fourth-quarter performance helped power the Chiefs to score 21 unanswered points in the final minutes of the game.

With his surprise win, Mahomes makes history as one of only three black quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl. But he was just one of several mobile, talented black quarterbacks in professional football this year.

Lamar Jackson earned the MVP Award this year with good passing and even better rushing. In 2019, Jackson broke Michael Vick’s record for most rushing yards by a quarterback. He led the league with 36 touchdown passes and powered the Baltimore Ravens to playoff contention. Deshaun Watson likewise animated the Houston Texans’ offense with his mobility and passing, pushing them to a playoff win against the Bills. And in the XFL, the Houston Roughnecks’ P.J. Walker has scored more touchdowns than some XFL teams combined. (He eventually finished the abbreviated season with 15 touchdowns and only four interceptions.)

Could we be in the middle of a renaissance for black quarterbacks?