As of Sunday evening, there are now four AFC teams remaining in the 2018 NFL playoffs and the Baltimore Ravens are not one of them. The Ravens, the winner of the AFC North this season and the division’s only playoff representative, lost Sunday at home to the Los Angeles Chargers 23-17 in a Wild Card game.
In the loss, Ravens rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson completed just 14 of his 29 total pass attempts for 194 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Baltimore’s first-round draft pick this year also rushed for 54 yards on 9 carries and was sacked 7 times. In addition to Jackson’s lone interception that he threw in the first half he also fumbled three times. His final fumble came with 28-seconds left in the game when he was sacked by Chargers outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu.
While Jackson finished Sunday’s game worth a passer rating of 78.8, that was mostly a result of how he played in the fourth quarter as the Louisville product and former Heisman Trophy winner had completed just 2 of his 8 total pass attempts for 17 yards and an interception in the first half of play that ended with the Ravens training the Chargers 12-0. Instead of benching Jackson in the third quarter for veteran backup quarterback Joe Flacco, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh decided to stick with the rookie first-round draft pick and even after the Baltimore offense managed just 3 points in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter and trailing the Chargers 23-3, Jackson drove the Baltimore offense on two touchdown-scoring drives of 75 and 80 yards to bring his team within 6-points with 1:59 remaining in regulation time. Both touchdown passes went to Ravens wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who finished the game with just those two catches for a total of 38 yards.
The Ravens defense then proceeded to force the Chargers offense to go three-and-out, and after they punted, the Baltimore offense took the field at their own 34-yard-line with 45-seconds left and a chance to win the game. Jackson, however, wound up being strip-sacked by Nwosu on the third play of the drive and Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram recovered the loose football with 19-seconds left to secure a Los Angeles road win.
While the Ravens defense did play well most of the game, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers still managed to complete 22 of his 32 total pass attempts for 160 yards. Rivers did not throw a touchdown pass or interception in the game and the Ravens defense managed to sack him just once.
Chargers kicker Michael Badgley had five field goals in the game with four of them coming in the first half. Los Angeles running back Melvin Gordon, who rushed for 40 yards on 17 carries, scored the Chargers lone touchdown and from one-yard out with 14:44 left in the fourth quarter. Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams led his team in receiving yardage with 42 yards on 2 catches.
After the loss, Harbaugh announced the obvious and that’s that Jackson would remain the Ravens quarterback moving forward and that Flacco will likely sign elsewhere in 2019.
“Lamar is our quarterback moving forward, there’s no question about that,” Harbaugh said.
The Chargers win over the Ravens now means that they’ll play the New England Patriots on the road next Sunday in one of two AFC Divisional Round playoff games. The other AFC Divisional Round playoff game will feature the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. The Colts advanced to that game on Saturday after beating the Houston Texans on the road in an AFC Wild Card game.