The Baltimore Ravens' season is over after a Wild Card loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. It was quite a ride considering the circumstances. Former MVP Lamar Jackson turned down a contract extension in the offseason and then got injured in Week 13 and was basically never seen again. Despite losing Jackson and three of their final four regular season games, the Ravens still made the playoffs and had a legitimate chance to win the game in the second half. Then this happened.
At the very least, this play swung the game. At the very worst it will reveal every crack in the Baltimore Ravens franchise. Not to overreact to the six-seed losing in the Wild Card round or anything.
The fourth quarter was very bad for Baltimore. Tyler Hutley made a bad decision and the Bengals took the lead. The decision to have Huntley dive over the pile in that situation left some asking why the ball wasn't given to J.K. Dobbins. Or at least had J.K. Dobbins asking.
Dobbins, who only played in eight regular season games, was the team's second-leading rusher behind Lamar Jackson. He averaged 5.7 yards per carry, but only had 13 rushing attempts (for 62 yards) in the loss. Gus Edwards had 12 carries. A completely uneducated guess would be that it was pretty clear that John Harbaugh was refusing to lean on any one back since there were so many injuries this season. Maybe that's how Tyler Huntley is the one diving over the pile in that situation.
Of course the game wasn't over at that point. The Ravens were still down just one touchdown with most of the quarter remaining. They had three more possessions and punted on two of them. Then Harbaugh got way too cute on the final drive. Presumably they were trying to score with no time left on the clock so Joe Burrow would not have a chance to answer. The main problem is you have to score first.
The Ravens had the ball on the Bengals side of the field with 3:12 remaining. They had a first down on the 28 with 1:17 remaining and still ended up throwing a Hail Mary from the 27 as time expired. It was a disaster.
Speaking of disasters, how about that Lamar Jackson situation?
It's still unclear how hurt Lamar Jackson is right now. Reports have been... vague. Jackson was initially expected to miss 1-3 weeks. That was about a month and a half ago. It never seemed like he was close to coming back but he was always casting a shadow over the team and his less talented backups. But how close was he to playing? Marlon Humphrey said he was limping around the facility, which seems like something the public might have liked to know.
Whatever shape Jackson is in, the fact that he didn't travel with the team to Cincinnati is classic Bad Optics. Anyone looking for proof that the quarterback was Kawhiet Quitting had confirmation. Doesn't seem like the kind of guy you want to give a gigantic contract to, especially considering he's missed the final third of the last two seasons.
Jackson is a free agent. Huntley is a downgrade. Harbaugh would need to completely retool the offense for a less mobile quarterback. Who knows what happens to the Ravens now?