Officially, the entire AFC North will have come and gone in the 2019 season without winning a postseason game. The Baltimore Ravens did have the opportunity to play a game, in the Divisional Round, no less, but they would prove to be the only home team in the round to lose their game, the Green Bay Packers, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Kansas City Chiefs all advancing.
The team with the best record in football looked like anything but as they largely had their hat handed to them by the Tennessee Titans on Saturday, a 9-7 Wildcard team as the sixth seed that will now head west to Kansas City to participate in the AFC Championship Game.
Meanwhile, the Ravens are left to ponder the implications of their early playoff exit. While Lamar Jackson shot back at any potential criticism for being 0-2 in the playoffs by reminding everybody that he’s 23 years old, another young player wasn’t so ready to give his group a pass.
Third-year cornerback Marlon Humphrey, quite frankly, trashed the Ravens about as well as any Pittsburgh Steelers fan would have been able to. “I think you have to look at yourself in the mirror, and I think this team’s identity right now is to get in the playoffs and choke”, he told reporters on Saturday following their upset loss. “It is what it is. This is just the hard truth”.
With a day to clear his head, he doubled down on his comments, saying that he was thinking that even while he was standing on the sideline. “You are what you show on paper, and you are what you show on the field. That’s what we’ve shown on the field”, he said.
During the regular season, the Ravens posted a 14-2 record, boasting the highest-scoring offense and one of the top defenses, which took itself to another level after the acquisition of All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters.
They carried momentum into the postseason like few have before, ending the year on a 12-game winning streak, earning the top seed in the AFC with the best record in all of football, but one can’t help but wonder if the time off contributed to their coming out cold.
Prior to the 2018 season, Baltimore had missed the playoffs in four out of five years since winning the Super Bowl in 2012. They looked like the same-old, same-old before Jackson took over a 4-5 team midway and led them into the playoffs.
Like this past year, however, they were also blown out. While the final score of that game was just 23-17, that included two late touchdowns. In each game, Jackson was responsible for at least two giveaways. He had three on Saturday, including two interceptions after throwing just six in over 400 pass attempts in the regular season.